Taking the Reins to Live Intentionally and Simply

 Gray Photography

Gray Photography

When I was a little girl I dreamed about being a mother and a wife. I was like most little girls and clung to the role of mommy with my baby dolls. As I got older, I dreamt about my role as a wife one day too and started to crave that home full of feet running around and bacon frying on the weekends.

Modern day lifestyles are vastly different than the past decades. Our time in this world goes by quicker and our lives are filled with so much stuff, so many obligations and so much static and noise. Sometimes it can feel as if all of the noise takes us away from the simple joys of things like mothering, homemaking, front porch sittin’ and so on.

I know of so many people who say they’d love to live back in a simpler time, back in the good ole’ days. I tend to be one of those people sometimes as well too; but like so many others, I’m also grateful for so many modern day things.

Here’s the thing though. As I’ve grown as a mother and a homemaker over the past year, I’ve discovered such a joy for carving out an intentionally simple life for my family. Creating a simple, peaceful home and lifestyle doesn’t have to mean that we jump into a time machine and head back to the June Cleaver days, it just means that we take initiative of our lives and the speed of them.

Living Simply and Intentionally

We take control of our schedules, of the stuff accumulating around us and we find joy in the mundane. Something as simple as a crisp fall day with the windows open and a soup simmering on the stove is something to be joyful about. It’s something to stop and take in for a second. While the task of cleaning the home may seem so exhausting, it’s something to be grateful for. A home. And while for the homemaker or stay at home, cleaning may seem so exhausting and tedious - it’s our “work." It’s the home that you make for your family whether you work in it or away from it.

If we want our lives to slow down, it’s up to us to make it happen. It’s up to us to let go of obligations and to turn down some invitations. It’s up to us to do less of what we don’t enjoy so we can do more of what we do enjoy. It’s up to us as parents, as mothers and fathers, to determine how many nights a week we eat together as a family or how many Sunday mornings we sit in church together.

Weaving Christ throughout your life, throughout your day, your marriage and throughout your mothering, makes things more peaceful. That feeling of being together in church on Sunday where you’re meant to be, is the best. That moment of a Sunday nap or a Sunday on the front porch is where life can shine. Where you can feel the joy of His grace because you are resting and being intentional with those around you.

Living Intentionally

I’m all for the extra curricular and the date nights. I’m all for the trips to the zoo and the library and for the occasional night out on the town with your friends. But the key to creating a simple, peaceful life that you long for, is all found within your hands and the hands of the Lord above.

Don’t look at housework as a burden, it’s your way to serve those around you that you love. Involve your little ones in the tasks if you want and absolutely do the tasks together with your spouse if he’s the kind to chip in, but don’t relish on the burdens of it all when it’s part of what makes your life and the lives of those you love function so beautifully.

Find joy in your tasks, no matter how repetitive they may be. Pull out the mixer and bake something from scratch with your children. Take afternoon snacks to the porch or take the kids outside for star gazing at night before bed. And find time to steal those few minutes for just YOU. Find ways to do more of what you love no matter how hard that may be. And always, always find more time to be together to enjoy the simple moments.

Some things to consider to make your life and moments more intentional:

  • Eat meals together with no distractions as often as you can

  • Limit extra curricular to where you’re not on the go each night

  • Let kids be kids

  • Cook for your family, it’s rewarding for you!

  • Serve your family with a peaceful, joyful heart rather than with the burdens of having to “do it all”

  • Ask for help when you need it, because life sometimes requires it ;)

  • Find your grace in the messy moments

  • Remember that even the most perfect moms have bad days

  • Have a power clean hour

  • Pick your home up throughout the day or before you leave each time

  • Carve out a few minutes of the day for yourself (mine is the mornings and nap time)

  • Play outside as a family

  • If you’re a stay at home mom, limit your daytime errands and activities so you can be at peace within your home

  • Bake something

  • Color with your little ones

  • Take up gardening/plants! (seriously!)

  • Stop to find the beauty of your day and relish in that moment

  • If you work away from home, find the support you need to enjoy the moments that you have when you get home (also let go of any guilt you have for this - you’re an awesome mama!)

  • Limit your weekend activities and obligations - it’s okay to say NO

  • Read and pray over the Proverbs 31 woman - the noble wife

  • Pray (for real!)

Living Simply

Life is a story. It’s a steady picture reel going on day by day. It’s up to us to determine how to write that story and it’s up to us to determine how those pictures will look. It may not always look as planned sometimes and other times the paths of life may change and we won’t understand them as we experience heavy burdens and pains, but somehow we have the ability to continue on and to create a simple, peaceful life of joy through it all.

Don’t look at the reels of someone else’s life and wish yours looked like that - make it happen. Find your peace, your joy and your God. He’ll shine the light on your days and somehow, he may even slow down the time as it passes so you can linger in the beauty of his grace.

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Living Intentionally and Simply

Tips for Keeping a Tidy Home with Kids

A tidy home with kids

I've been asked a few times here and there from followers on how does my home stay so tidy. First off, I want to ALWAYS remind you that social media can be deceptive. I will easily photograph around a mess or move something out of the way for a photo. There I said it. It happens and it's real. 

But I will also say, that for the most part our home does stay tidy. Is it always deep cleaned with sparkling showers and freshly mopped floors? No. That stuff is harder to come by sometimes with three kids. But I am a fan of tidiness, organization and picking up. I make this a huge part of our rhythm throughout the day and while the kids are involved in it, I am too. 

Keeping a Home Organized With Kids

For the most part I can stay on top of our home with being tidy and looking clean throughout the day. Weekends can be worse sometimes or early mornings are sometimes still a bit disorangized if we're in a hurry, but I find ways to make things quickly come back together. 

Clutter irritates me, things out of their place drive me crazy and if I leave my home with things lying all around, it will literally shift my whole mood in a negative way. 

While having three little ones (or even just one) makes keeping a home tidy a challenge, it can be done. I think it's also important to remember that kids do need to play and make a mess. Your home is their home and messes will happen.

Tidy Farmhouse Style Home

There's also different seasons and rhythms for different people. If you have a newborn baby, keeping your home tidy shouldn't be such a priority. If you're a mother who works away from the home, finding a rhythm different from mine and making it work for you is what works. 

Everyone has a different rhythm to their day and many mothers are in different seasons of motherhood. Find what works for you and do the best you can. No one should judge you based on how tidy your home is. I think we all, even myself, need to stop apologizing when we feel like things are not "perfect." Because are they ever really? Nah. My home can look spotless, but please I beg you to not open the junk drawer and you probably shouldn't go into the utility room either. It happens and it's part of what makes us real. 

But if you're looking for some EASY tips on keeping things tidy, read on mama. 

Keeping a Home With Kids
  • Pick up each night. No matter how tired I am, I will pick up every night before I go to bed. Toys will get put up, dishes put away, floors swept and sofa pillows will go situated perfectly. This gives me peace of mind at night and a better start to our day. 
  • Pick up before you leave. I think this is my biggest piece of advice. Even if we're just running to carpool or going to run errands, I make the kids clean up their toys before we leave and I pick up all of the random things lying around that accumulated throughout the day. 
  • Pick up before doing ANYTHING. We can't go outside if there's a giant mess inside. We can't go ride bikes if there's a giant mess somewhere. Before we move on to a new thing, we have to clean up the current situation. 
  • Have a power clean. This is when I put a movie on or give the kids the iPad, put the baby in the bouncer (or now he is bigger so he follows me and makes it harder) and have a power hour (or just 30 minutes). I start in each room and take care of any clutter piles, clothes that need to be put away, laundry to fold, etc.... 
  • Clean as you cook. I try to clean my cooking space as I finish with things so when dinner is done being prepped and cooking, things are back to normal in the kitchen. 
  • Don't let clutter accumulate. I know this is easier said than done, but I try at all costs to not have any clutter anywhere. This keeps me sane and keeps my home looking tidy if anyone unexpectedly drops by (but don't get me wrong, sometimes it's a hot mess when people stop by lol).
  • Use baskets. I have various wicker baskets all over that keep things. Some of them hold building blocks or legos, coloring books or clothes to put away in my room. But a nice wicker basket, provides a pretty aesthetically pleasing piece that can also function for efficiency. 
  • Pick up during nap time. I try to pick up before nap time but sometimes it doesn't get done until nap time. And then on rare occasions, I get sidetracked and maybe take a nap myself and nothing gets done. I hate when this happens because it throws us off and resorts in a mess to me. 
  • Make life easier. Lay clothes out for the morning, leave out the supplies you need to make lunches for school, etc... Make your mornings easier by setting the routine the night before along with cleaning the home. This way when your day begins and you do the things you have to do (like make lunches and take care of tiny humans), you can have less chaos and less mess. 
  • Keep things that go together, together. We have a cabinet full of art supples, school items and puzzles. We have baskets of blocks and a book area just for books. We keep things organized by type for the kids so it makes cleaning and knowing where things are easier for us. 
  • Own less stuff. Get rid of things that you don't use or that your kids don't play with. Less stuff results in less mess! I'm always on a mission to rid our home and lives of things we don't need. There's numerous studies that links that the more stuff we have, the unhappier we are. The more toys a kid has, the less they use their imagination or experience boredom. Purging and donating is a wonderful and very freeing thing to do for yourself and your family. 
  • Only fill your home up with what you love. I'm sure in some ways our home can seem bare to others. But I try to be much more decisive on what comes into our home now, rather than just picking up things because it's cute and on sale. I try to think hard about a purchase or justify that I have the right spot for it. 
farmhouse style kitchen

Lastly, give yourself some grace. I have to remember myself that I am a mother to three small children who make a mess. They wouldn't be enjoying their childhood as much if messes were not involved.

I hope these tricks help and if not, find your own tricks to incorporate into your day! 

Keeping a Home Tidy and Organized

Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos. 

Simplicity: Sign Me Up For It

Every day, every hour, the parents are either actively or passively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.
— Charlotte Mason
Simplicity and Childhood

Awhile back I posted a photo of my kids swinging in front of our home and someone commented, "Such simplicity, sign me up for it!" I cherished that comment because simplicity is what it's all about for me. It's what I strive for. 

You're probably thinking though that there's no way you can do that or even that I'm a little crazy. What is simple about three kids ages 5 and under? Well not much if we're being totally honest here, but there are ways around it and ways to strive for simplicity and to achieve it. 

Just like many parents, we have goals and dreams for our children. We want them to dance, play sports, do Boy Scouts and all of those fun things that we did growing up (if they want to of course). When I reflect back on my childhood I remember my days of dancing and 4-H club and Beta meetings. Those things were great and to this day I still dance and teach others dance now, a passion that will never cease for me. 

Children in the Outdoors

But when I look back at my years growing up, the things that so often stick out to me as pure pleasure are truly the simpler things. The evenings of riding bikes and ATVs around the neighborhood with my friends until the sun went down. The evenings of eating dinner as a family and then watching a movie, or Nick at Nite, with my mom until bed time. I remember the camping trips in the woods, not at amusement parks, but deep in the woods where you played outside all day and was lucky if the antenna caught PBS in the camper during a rainstorm. 

I remember swinging late in the evenings and watching the sky turn pink while my parents worked in the yard. I remember swimming in our pool and my mom baking brownies and making lemonade for my friends and I. I remember my mama making a homemade dinner nearly every night of the week and us eating it together. 

Simplicity and Children Growing Up

For some of us and our families, these things are every day occurrences. For others it's only on occasions or rare. Is there a right or a wrong way here? Of course not. But I know what sort of memories and life I want my children to reflect back on, and that is that life was simple, wild and free. 

As I move forward into my first year of a school age child, here's the guidelines I want to try and follow as we navigate life ahead while still striving for simplicity. 

  • Limit extra curricular. This is going to be harder for my husband than it will be for me, but I do firmly believe that children should be engaged and active. It helps create more self discipline and ignites passions in children, however if every night is some sort of activity, I don't feel that is healthy. Young children need to be free, they need to get bored and they need to play. I know this can become debatable among parents, but for me, free nights at home are treasures. 
  • Eat together daily. While sometimes extra curricular may interfere, strive to do this as often as possible. If week nights are somewhat crazy, make it a point to have Friday pizza nights and Sunday home cooked meals; the same goes for breakfast in our home. 
  • Go to church weekly. This is different among us all, but it fits into my list for simple balance and grounding in life. 
  • Limit screen time and electronics. Oh this topic. It was one that I was firm about for so long, but as my children have gotten older, I have found ways to cope with it. Some days we barely watch TV and other days right now where it is scalding hot outside, we do watch it. I have learned to find some balance with this and to give myself grace when I just want some quiet time. I do think having time limits and shutting the TV off requires kids to go play, to get bored and to use their imaginations. I monitor what they watch, how long they watch and I make them turn it off to go play in their rooms. An iPad is a treat here and they will never have their own iPads (not for many more years at least). 
  • Less is more. We mostly all know and believe this statement to be true, however living it can be harder. Of course we get excited when Christmas comes around because we want to give so much to those we love. I have been already brainstorming and making lists of how we can cut the costs and "toys" back for the holidays this year. Whether it's gift giving or filling your home with things you love, sometimes less can truly lead to more. Less clutter leads to less anxiety. 
  • Make Nature your oasis. I love when my kids are out until the sun goes down playing, just as I did as a child. Some days this is difficult because the later bedtimes are not good for me, but I know that it's fun for them. They are climbing their swing set, swinging on our tree swing and watching the moon peek out from the colors of the evening sky. These moments are the memories that they will hold onto throughout their life. Summers can be harder here because of the heat, so we wait until late in the evenings to play for a longer period of time. 
  • Name brands are pointless. I put this here because in our modern culture, there is a lot of weight placed on name brands. I remember dreaming of owning my first Coach bag back when I was in college. Now here I am years later with several Coach bags piled up in my closet because I don't have the heart to get rid of them (mostly gifts from my husband). These things have no real value in life. I hope to instill this in my children because truly, brands are meaningless. I understand good quality but not labeling. As my child heads to Kindergarten, all of her new school shoes come from Wal-Mart. I laughed at this one day because I actually hate Wal Mart with a passion. But here's why it was simple: I was able to get everything at once - she found shoes she loved - I got more for my money than just one pair somewhere else - it was stress free and fit our budget at the time. It made my life more simple to get it all there. Easy, peasy. 
  • Get kids involved. I won't lie, I struggle in this area because of my need to just get things down my way. However in the back of my mind, I know it is time to start involving my girls in the kitchen more and learning about cooking (I opted out of this growing up often and regret it). Getting them involved in understanding simple, real food and healthy nourishment for our bodies can also set them up for a healthier future. 
  • Think of the old days. When I want to simplify our life and find balance, I think of how it was in the old days and how simple life was. I want that life but of course, we just have to find the balance of modern and old. 
  • Stop the comparison game. This can be hard but it's true. Stop comparing our cars, our homes and our wardrobes to others. Comparison is the root of all evil sometimes and we are much happier when we are just appreciative for what we have. Just because someone has nicer things doesn't mean much. Sometimes nicer comes with more debt, unstable emotions and more unhappiness. Everyone has a story and we don't know everyone's story. 
  • Simplicity is proven to be helpful for children. Routines and simple childhoods are previously mentioned in several articles as helping to create more balanced children who use their imaginations and are healthy and will likely continue to grow healthy with less anxiety

Simplicity rules in my book and I am always striving on how I can make their life more simple. We frequently purge toys, keep clutter to a bay and practice cleaning and respecting our home and nature. Get outside with your little ones and begin forming a life of simplicity and less chaos. 

Find your grace as you grow into this role as a mother simplifying the lives of the little people you create. Our modern world doesn't care for simplicity but many are starting to realize how important it is to our mental health.

Be the voice who decides how your children will grow and navigate life! Never underestimate the power of simplicity. 

Summers and Childhood

Sasha Savoy

Sasha is the owner and founder of The Mushy Mommy, a natural mother and baby boutique and The Mushy Mommy Village. She is a SAHM who works hard at living as minimal and unprocessed as possible, but never claims perfection. Her mission is to inspire, encourage, enlighten and empower mothers all over to feel good about their choices, to make healthy choices and to enjoy motherhood and all of its beauty and chaos.