Training vs. Discipline

Scurrying through the dining room to complete a quick 15 minute pick-up session before supper, I turned to my 5-year old daughter for assistance.  “Could you put that brush in the bathroom, please?” 

My request was met with a very nonchalant, “It’s not mine.”

SCREEEEECH!  Somehow those words hit me like fingernails on a chalkboard.  After teaching tweeners for eight years, I do know what that sounds like!  De-cluttering no longer important.  Time for some training.  Let me be the first to admit that my normal reaction would be to give her the evil eye, say “do it” in a not-so-tender-mommy tone and huff on to my other pre-dinner responsibilities.  I don’t know what made me stop this time, but I’m glad I did. 

So began a quick talk about what would happen if mommy only took care of her messes…  how everyone needs to contribute to the family for us to run smoothly… and, of course, the proper response when I ask for her much needed help.  “Yes, mommy” would be an appropriate choice, along with some followthrough.

So we practiced.  Task completed.  No more hairy brush on my dining room table.  “Thank you.  And now I need you to put the doily (currently used as a headress) back on the table where it belongs.”  Before I had put the period at the end of my verbal command, out came the popular excuse  “That’s not where it was…” along with a stunted explanation of exactly where the doily had been discovered. 

Hadn’t I just talked about this?!?  Again, I could have disciplined for disobeying and talking back (and trust me, it’s my go-to method entirely too often), sent her to her room to stew about it, and done it myself… but in another moment of patience and sanity (two in one day!  WOW!) I chose to train my daughter, even as she walked away.

Stop right there.  Come back.  Let’s try this again.

“I need you to put the doily back on the table where it belongs.”

“Yes, mommy.”

Ahhhh, temporary relief for a Mama’s ringing ears and frazzled mind.

Discipline is easy less time consuming in the present, but training will pay off in the future.  It will make my life simpler someday.  Right?  Anyone? 

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.

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Simple Finances

Keeping our finances simple is one thing that has given us peace of mind and heart during the nearly ten years that we’ve been married.  Because of the choices that we have made and continue to make on a daily basis, we’re able to continue on course when the financial world around us seems to be in turmoil.

Our simple money management looks like this:

We live below our means, even though our current means qualify us for some state assistance.

  • One of my least favorite sayings is “you spend what you earn.”  So not true.  The very thought of spending my husband’s full paycheck every month is frightening.
  • We lived below our means even when we had two jobs and no children.  That made things much simpler when it came time to transition to one income!
  • We have learned so much about being content with what we are blessed with. 
  • When an unexpected expense comes in (recently it’s been doctor bills) we can write a check.  The money is there.  That doesn’t make paying the bill any more fun, but it sure simplifies matters!
  • Because we live below our means, we are able to give.  Giving brings peace to our lives.

Aside from our 15 year mortgage, which we are working toward paying off early, we have no debt.

  • We are extremely thankful to be nearly debt-free.  If something were to happen to our income, we wouldn’t have the added stress of trying to hang on to things that aren’t yet paid for. 
  • Payments irk me.  I can’t stand the thought of paying interest money for anything.  I would much rather watch interest pay me in our mutual funds (which I am confident will rebound ;-).   If we can’t pay cash (or we just don’t want to!) we don’t buy it. 
  • Having no debt leaves necessary wiggle room in the budget.  Even though it’s hard to watch prices go up on nearly every type of item, we can make the adjustment. 

Who are the Joneses, anyway? 

  •  It’s just a guess, but I picture the Joneses being incredibly stressed out about paying for all the things they’ve collected, watching in horror as their credit card interest accrues… on items they don’t remember needing or purchasing.  Again, just a guess, but who needs that?
  • Another thing with the Joneses.  If they really can pay for all of that stuff, what are they sacrificing?  Their time?  Health?  Relationships?  Defiitely not simple, and definitely not worth it.
  • Again, contentment.  We’re content with our older home (with a nice big yard for the kids to play in and for a garden!)  We’re content with our tv, and our cell phone, and our two older vehicles.  They get us where we’re going safely.   

Keeping our finances simple has been a true blessing to our marriage.  The teamwork that it takes to create and implement our financial goals, and to hold one another accountable when one of us really wants something 😉 , has contributed to our unbreakable bond.  We are so richly blessed.

For more Living Simply Saturdays, visit Keeper of the Home.

Join Them!

My kids are great teachers.  They teach me how to slow down.  They show me what really matters.  They help me get back to the basics and focus on the Finer Things.

Children are all about simplicity.  Feed me.  Clothe me.  Love me.  Feed me.  They like to be fed, too.

I had a couple of choices when my little scavengers bellied up to the apple crisp bar yesterday.

  1. Scold them and move them and get them busy on something else so that i could get something done.
  2. Join them!

I joined them.  🙂  There were plenty of apples to go around, our morning snack was taken care of, and we had lots of fun!  Oh, and the apple crisp turned out perfectly yummy, too!  And for those with a keen eye, that would be a sports bra around my baby’s neck.  She had started folding laundry for me in the other room.  Such good helpers I have!

Check out Living Simply Saturdays at Keeper of the Home.

Private Parade

Children tend to march to the beat of their own drummer.  My kids… they march, and dance, and twirl to the beat of their very own drum-line!

The Kansas State Fair begins today, and this week our high school band shows their Tiny Town Stuff at Band Day.  Because of where we live (location, location, location!) we are the proud recipients of our very own parade every day for the first two weeks of school, as the band prepares for their performance.

She be Jammin'

Every day for the past two weeks, at approximately 12:52, I hear “Mom!  The band!  I hear the drums!  Let’s go!” and we head to the porch for forty minutes of simplicity.  Simply marching.  Simply dancing.  Simply smiling.  Simply waving.  Simply enjoying.

Ah, the Finer Things in Life, through the eyes of a child… your very own band.

Only in Tiny Town…

Check out Living Simply Saturdays at Keeper of the Home.

It’s Not a Bargain if You Don’t Need It

I love a good bargain. When I enter a store, any store, I delight in discovering all things CLEARANCE.

Before we moved to Tiny Town, I was a bargain shopper extraordinaire. I’d hit all the sales. Frequently. I did lots of shopping, but spent very little money (on each individual item). And I had lots of stuff to show for it. Some of it useful. Some of it even needed. But a lot of it… just clearanced stuff.

I’d order an item on clearance, and when it arrived… it might not be exactly what I’d hoped for, or it wouldn’t fit just right, or *gasp* it looked better on the model than on me. But I wouldn’t send it back, because paying for shipping would be more than my refund! So my stuff collection grew.

Things are different now. More children. Less time. Bigger house. Tiny town. Fewer stores. Fewer bargains. Less shopping…

…simpler life… in some ways. Definitely in shopping ways. I’m working hard to rid my home of useless clutter, even if it was a bargain. (And even if it was given to us!) I don’t need 15 pairs of shoes, even if I purchased each of them for under $10. It adds up! I want the simple pleasure of knowing that the items we have were purchased for a good deal and for a good purpose. I desire a purpose for my purchase!

I still have my “gift stash” (of course!) in the basement that I absolutely couldn’t be without. I still pounce on any men’s size 14 shoes that I see for under $30, because size 14 shoe bargains don’t come along every day (or every year) and size 14 shoes are very much needed by an important man in my home. I’m still drawn to the clearance racks and shelves, and I still purchase what we need from them.

My frugal tip this week: while the bargain still beckons… it’s just not a bargain if you don’t need it.

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more Frugal Friday!

Happy With What We HAVE

 

Check out my very first guest post over at Happy to be at Home!  In the next few weeks I’ll be expanding my thoughts (right here!) on how you REALLY CAN live thrive on one income if you have the right attitude and are careful about how you manage your money.  Join me!  I’d like to hear your thoughts, too!

Happy Birthday to You!

We have a birthday girl in our house this week! We celebrated with my side of the family today, and what a celebration we had! We played… ate dinner… played some more… ate cake (homemade) and ice cream (homemade)… and played some more.

No decorations. No theme. No party favors. No fuss.

And you know what? We didn’t miss all the things that money can buy for a birthday party. We never do. In my 5 years as Mommy, I’ve learned that it’s not the things that make the party (not even the presents!), it’s the people and the fun. Oh, okay, and the food, too. But maybe that’s just me…