Simplicity NOW!

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This magazine is very aloof. It has issues. (GET IT?)

 

Once, long ago, before I had children,  I did things like:

  • Read The New Yorker.  All of it.  Even the parts I didn’t understand.
  • Cooked elaborate meals with creamy sauces and green things and then:
  • Ate those meals, on the couch,  while watching equally saucy television shows  AND NOT ONCE DID I GET UP.
  • Sleep.

I like to refer to this era in my life as:

The Time Before Children Came Along and Smacked Me Upside the Head with Their Nerf Swords. *

 

So now I have kids. Yep.  You guessed it. This is another post about how kids came along and blew it my life to smithereens.

They blew up the quiet time and my cute house and all my sassy shoes (heels?  HEELS? Too much of my life is block and tackle.)  They blew up menu plans and vacation plans and they really really blew up my body.  Totally did a number on it.  Blammo.

And I accept it (granted, with a lot of snark and some occasional whining) because really?  I love them like crazy.  (The lawyer is again rolling his eyes all over the place.  Appropriate descriptor, he says.)

At night I go in and look at their soft little faces and gorgeous eyelashes and  listen to their sweet little snufflings and just wonder at it all.  And then, I always ask the inevitable question that I think all parents have wondered at some point:

WHY can’t they stay asleep like, ALL THE TIME?  Every major offense they did today is totally erased when I just look at them sleeping!  They are so CUTE!  This would make it all so much SIMPLER!!!

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Corie Clark, author of The Simplicity Project, offers some better options for snagging some elusive Simplicity.  I think she’s really hit on something that most moms long for:  PEACE AND QUIET, FOR PETE’S SAKE.  And maybe that peace and quiet should start in us.  The fact that we are surrounded by whirling toddlers who leave chaos and Legos (and sometimes clothing) in their wake is not really the issue.

It starts with us.

This book is a simple (yes, intended) and practical look at how Corie’s own “Simplicity Project” helped her find that peace she longed for.  I had the opportunity to interview her recently about this book and wanted to share with you some of her thoughts about finding our true purpose, while not letting “life get in the way of living.”

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?  Your family? Your hobbies?  If you were a tree, what kind of tree.. (just kidding)?

I was born and raised in California. I have been married to my best friend, Ryan for 17 years. We have 3 kids ages 9, 12, and 14. We moved from Northern California to Southern California 3 years ago and love living here. When I’m not busy homeschooling my kids or writing, you can find me at the beach. Whether it’s 50 degrees or 100 degrees, the ocean is my favorite place to be.
What inspired you to write The Simplicity Project?

I’ve actually been working on a different book for quite some time and just always had an excuse to not work on it. I never had enough time and seemed to be constantly living in chaos. I decided in February to simplify my life. This was more than just organizing. It was simplifying my health, my home, my finances, and my time. I needed some room to breathe and some room to work on my dreams and live out my purpose.

 Could you explain your writing practice? Do you write at a consistent time every day? How do you find the time?

I WISH I could say I have a certain time I write every day. I do try to write something every day but some days it just ends up being a journal entry. When I am disciplined with getting up early in the morning I’ll have my quiet time and then write. But other times, something just comes to me and I have to get it down on paper before I forget. I imagine that someday when the kids are grown, I’ll spend more time on it. Right now, it’s just a matter of setting aside a little time every day to keep at it.

Do you have a favorite chapter of your book?

I’ve never thought of a favorite chapter. I think if I had to pick it would be the section on time. It really is so important. If we don’t figure out who we are and what our roles are, we can end up wasting time and money on things that aren’t important.

Is there a least favorite? One that was hardest to write, for some reason?

I guess finances are my least favorite thing EVER. It is an area that I still struggle with. If I don’t have my budget made before my husband gets his paycheck, we’re doomed. It is so important though and when we are disciplined and have a budget, it gives me peace of mind.

What do you have to say to the overworked, overstuffed calendared Mom who doesn’t even feel she has time to read a book about finding time… Any last words of encouragement?

The most important point I try to make in the book is to give yourself grace. Don’t beat yourself up for making bad decisions or for forgetting that load of laundry that’s been sitting for two days. Just start where you are, one baby step at a time. And, if you feel like you don’t have time to read the book, I think you’ll be surprised at how simple of a read it is. I’ve read countless books on organizing, time management, and more. I always quit reading half way through because they’re too long and just complicate things. I kept things as simple as possible so that people can really accomplish something. It’s something that I lived and still practice in my everyday life. I couldn’t let life keep getting in the way of living. You shouldn’t either!

 

Amen, sister.

If you’re interested in ordering Corie’s book, click here, or on amazon.com.  You will be glad you did!

And I leave you with my favorite New Yorker cartoon of all time:

 

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*Nerf swords can pack a serious punch, if you’re not prepared.  So, keep it simple.  Store them on top of the fridge and only bring ’em down when you have had an espresso or are in a really, really good mood.  You’re welcome.

 

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Tuesday Takeout And Toddlers Who Drive Momsie to Drink. SELTZER.

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My life has been a series of ups and downs (I am pretty sure all of us can relate to this, because, really, if life didn’t have peaks and valleys what WOULD we be?  Petri dish material?).  I embrace most of them.  I really do.  The hard stuff and the good – it’s how we grow and how we grow up.

But, there is one valley experience that keeps surfacing (I know, not possible for a valley to surface, but stay with me) in this crazy life of mine, and I am ready to tell this valley to take a hike someplace scenic, but FAR AWAY.

Whoever said “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” probably was talking about all those “honorable” killer things:  like a marathon, or childbirth, or teaching 7th grade Sunday School.  Something that refines you through the pain,  like trying to find pants at Kohl’s that don’t advertise your underwear color and brand.

In my case?  It’s not an honorable valley.  It’s what I like to call The Big Valley of Suck-itude.

It is just awful and I need help.

What, you ask, could be this ghastly?

The Valley of When I Start Dinner.

Let me illustrate:

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CC courtesy of Aris Gionis @Flickr

Simply, there is nothing good that can come from this daily battle, unless you count the actual dinner part, and even that is a crap-shoot.  Some nights dinner is a hit, others nights… our meal comes with its own verbal disclaimer and a waiver to sign.

Case in point:  (Ok, when anyone says “Case in point” always add the Law and OrderDoink-doink.”  It makes the writing better). Tonight’s meal was chicken, mushroom, and spinach pasta stuff, and it was very good.  But, I paired it with garlic bread that was toasted to the point of charbroil – when I put them in the serving dish they “clinked” with such authority that Red and Blonde thought I was putting away Legos.

I will give myself a dinner gratuity,  because when I thwacked down the bread Legos on the table, I said: “These here? These are garlic bread sticks, ” and then made the “These are not the droids you’re looking for” Star Wars gesture.  Any time I can muster up a bit of Obi One, it’s a bonus.

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So.  How do I survive this ruthless and endless onslaught of 5 pm’s that just keep coming at me with no warning (except for the fact that 5 pm does happen, uh every 24 hours.  Kinda like every day.  But still.  SHOCKING.)

I drink.

(Doink-doink!!)

HOWEVER.  At this point in my life, (the same one with all the peaks and valleys that I was referring to earlier) I have decided that I drink seltzer.  Or club soda.  Or the occasional REAL Coke with lime.  Or tea, with which I kinda have a love/hate relationship due to the fact that I wasn’t paying attention once and brewed Smooth Move once instead of my Bigelow Mint Chamomile with SHOCKING results.  SHOCKING.

I would like to share with you two of my favorite 5 pm cocktails (I know, most people call ’em “Mocktails” but that sounds so snarky, and I am NOT snarky.  Or at least not when it comes to beverages that save my 5 pm.)

 

Cocktail #1 to help a tired Momsie who has to answer this question while making dinner:

“Mommah?  If I burp, but it’s out of my bum, why?”

1.  Brew some mint tea of some type (I use green tea w/ mint)

2.   Add a bit of honey to the tea and let steep 10 minutes or so.

3.  Put a LOT of ice in a glass.  Use a Mason Jar – it’ll make it taste better, I promise.  It’ll be a hipster drink now.

4.  Add herbs – I have used rosemary, lavender, even basil and, of course, mint.  I do not recommend chives.  Unless you really need the toddlers (and also the hubs) to just leave you the heck alone for a while, then go for it.

 

Why yes, I do have herbs just hanging out in my house, all Martha Stewart-like.  This is rosemary.  (it's actually the only one left that didn't die.)

Why yes, I DO have herbs just hanging out in my house, all Martha Stewart-like. Say hello to Rosemary. (It’s actually the only one left that didn’t die.)

4.  Muddle the herbs up a bit in the glass.  “Muddling” is cocktail talk for:  use a spoon and whack/stir/beat the herbs to allow their oils to be released, rather violently, into the drink.

5.   Add about half seltzer and half tea and stir with your cute pink straw.

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Extreme close up of yummy drink!

 

Take a sip and savor.  This cocktail, much like me, is not overly sweet.  It’s just better that way.

 

Cocktail #2 that aids digestion, balances your hormones, gives you energy, AND helps you deal with this:

“Mommah, da kitten has some poop on it.  In its fur a wittel? I brought it to you.”  You then discover that the use of the word “it” is very important here, and that you should have been paying attention.  “It” had two options:

Option A: Kitten with personal hygiene issues or

Option B:  Something even grosser.  Toddler went for option B. Of course he did.

 

1.  Wash and bleach toddler, and you.  Consider bleaching the cat but figure, another day.

2.   Sigh heavily, then fill a glass full of ice.  Lots of ice.  Stand with head in freezer for a little bit longer than is comfortable.

3.  Add seltzer and lime.  If feeling adventurous, also add some Tazo Passion tea because you are an ANIMAL that way.

4.  Add a glug or two of this magic stuff:

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Pickett’s #1 “Medium Spicy” Ginger Beer syrup. It’ll put hair on your chest. But in a good way!

 

Stir and sip.  JUST SIP.  This stuff’ll seriously make you do the sip/cough if you’re not careful.  It’s got MOXIE.  Sip and savor because, like Momsie, this drink will make you wonder, on the pain threshold,  just how much of it you can stand.   It’s a good burn, I tell you.  The kind of “won’t kill you but will make you stronger” variety.

Enjoy!

 

And, I leave you with this:  Kitties dancing to Law and Order.  Oh  Mr. Youtube, you complete me!!