This week I have been noticing a positive side-effect of the Coronavirus restrictions on our lives – a greater appreciation and delight in the small things in life.
This week we found new things to do for very little money, things we probably wouldn’t have considered “fun enough” in our fast-paced life before COVID came around.
My daughter and I went to a bakery this week in a rural town outside of our city which is owned by a woman who left the Amish life in her 20s. We had plenty of time to talk in car, and brought home some treats including lemon meringue pie! It was so simple, but it felt good to have a new experience (side note: not too many mask wearers in small towns…)
Tonight I am appreciating being home to be able to pick the kale from my garden and serve it sautéed with sausages for dinner. Far too often we have been guilty of planting seeds, watering, and then going on vacation only to come home to our veg gone to seed. I am delighted to have the time to tend to and enjoy our yard.
We had a great new experience for Father’s Day (early). We did struggle a bit with finding a balance between “fun enough” and “safe.” A number of plans were scrapped because they seemed too complicated with Coronavirus. We ended up having a perfect, simple day, picking up poke bowls and taking them to a magnificent park with views of Lake Michigan. I think we will enjoy variations of this throughout the summer.
Another simple joy this week was walking with my mom to her local ice cream shop. We haven’t gotten together inside yet, but this was a fun way to spend some time together.
I know we aren’t the only ones carving out joy in a simpler life. I have seen so many teens and even college students at the local playground, sitting on blankets, shooting hoops, or practicing hitting baseballs. I never even knew these kids lived in our neighborhood and I’m glad to see them outside under conditions that are deemed safe in our state.
Have you discovered or rediscovered simple pleasures as a result of lockdown?
Here in the northern Great Lakes region, only the heartiest plants can make it through the winter. Some plants that could be perennial need to be brought inside over winter and coddled, or you can resign yourself to buying them again next year.
Last fall we got ambitious and dug up the huge coleus from our back garden and brought it in for the winter. Honestly, its large size in a smallish house meant it was definitely taking up some real estate. I kept it alive and this spring was able to make some more coleus from my original plant.
I’m not overly skilled in the garden area — that is my husband’s hobby. I’m very proud that I did this on my own.
I took a small snippet from my plant and left a stem of a few inches.
Then I took away all but two of the leaves. The plant can’t sustain photosynthesis for so many leaves and grow roots at the same time.
I let some tap water sit out overnight to take the chlorine out. Then I added water to a shot glass (jelly jar for bigger leaves). The tape kept the leaves from floating out of the glass.
Let the stems sit in the water for 7-10 days. Eventually you will see roots growing! It’s magical. Keep an eye on the water because it does get taken up by the plant and evaporates as well.
Roots! isn’t that the best? My baby coleus plants are ready for the garden or a flowerpot. I’ll be sure to give you an update on how my babies are doing in the garden in the weeks to come.
Have you tried plant propagation for indoor or outdoor plants? I wish I had started earlier and then I could have donated some plants to our church’s plant sale.
“Nowadays, people are so jeezled up. If they took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, they might enjoy life more.” – Tasha Tudor
I came across the quote from Tasha Tudor when researching corgi dogs (dangerous thinking I know)! Corgis appear in most of her books and artwork. The quote was the perfect sentiment at the perfect time for me. It’s been a S-L-O-W week at home, with people still recovering from illnesses, leaving me the only one still awake at 8:30 p.m. I’ve been reading my old issues of Victoria magazine, taking time to enjoy all of the beautiful photos and gracious living articles.
My little garden frog.
I needed to slow down, too.
I haven’t really found a good balance between home and work since switching jobs, and having my family resting so much made me realize what I high gear I am operating in.
I want to take a bigger step back into my “core business” of family-food-home and one step back from the demands of work. Thoughts, working moms?
DH and DD worked in the garden this week and pretty much everything is planted except for our basil. It is not consistently warm enough to start basil from seed outdoors.
In our raised beds we have two areas for yukon gold potatoes, summer squash, cilantro, arugula, swiss chard, zinnias for cutting, and basil. The zinnias re-seeded themselves from last year. The raised beds with black edging make the soil warmer, which helps immensely. That extra heat helps compensate for the cool temperatures where we live. This weekend my husband will hook up drip irrigation which makes watering much easier.
We grow spinach in a big pot to outwit the bunnies. You can continuously re-seed the pot throughout the summer. We also do kale in a pot. Bunnies love baby kale!
Our garden has had many different looks over the years. The current approach is manageable for us and gives us food we actually will eat on a daily basis. I have to credit my husband for all the gardening efforts. It’s just not my thing, but I am happy to harvest and cook it!
Wowee, what a week. It’s such a blessing to be home all summer with my girl, but such a rude awakening when it is back to work and school. This was our first full week of school and work. By about Wednesday my daughter was longing for a vacation to Washington, DC. I find that when we have the urge to go on a vacation, what it usually means is: “I miss living life without so many obligations.”
We did decide that we could take some money from my checks and put it into a vacation fund that we can watch grow. This might be a good introduction to our budget process for our daughter.
Today we are taking it easy as we are under orders from Laine’s teacher to “recharge our batteries.” This is advice near and dear to my heart. The next best thing to a vacation is being home without a massive to-do list and errands all over the place.
Meanwhile, we had a good week with our budget. I wasn’t enthusiastic about cooking some of the nights this week, but having a meal plan really helps. It is important that I continue to cook most meals at home or my checks will be used up in dining out costs! I continue to monitor Quicken to make sure that my working isn’t causing a rise in grocery spending due to lack of meal planning.
On a humorous note, my most interesting google search that brought someone to my blog this week was ‘getting laid at home’. Pretty sure they didn’t get to the page they were looking for, but maybe they stumbled on a good Jamie Oliver recipe as a result.
It seems it wasn’t that many posts ago that I was trying to get into the slower pace of summer, and here I am wishing for just another week or two to spend with my daughter lounging around watching American Girl movies or reading on the couch. It’s not that we don’t do these things the rest of the year, but when school starts back up, it feels like you have added another person to the family — one who has an insatiable appetite for reading minutes to be logged and spelling words to be practiced.
We relished an easy summer day today… no coupons, no grocery stores, no dry-cleaning stops. We went to the beach at 9:00 am, had lunch at Subway, and watched episodes of the cartoon ‘Arthur’ in the afternoon until my legs started to go numb from sitting so long. As grateful as I am for our New Mexico vacation and other summer excursions that required money, it’s the simple, easy days that I crave. Days with no purpose other than hanging out together.
This weekend I need to get in gear with a meal plan and groceries for brown-bag lunches (groan), but I hope I can pack these chores into an hour or two, and then get back to banking a few more hours of lazy family time before September comes calling.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This summer the New York Times ran an article called ‘For Would-Be Retirees, A Million-Dollar Illusion.’ The gist of the article was that increasing inflation and low returns on bonds can create a situation for retirees where they could run through a $ 1 million dollar nest egg before they die. A million ain’t what it once was! I’m not near retirement and I don’t have a nest egg that size, but I found the end of the article to be very thought-provoking:
“When you are in your 50s… you can try to save as much as you can and try not to get accustomed to a lifestyle that you won’t be able to afford later on”
If a retiree is drawing conservatively from a $1 million portfolio and taking Social Security, that might look like $61,000 per year. Nice, sure, but not the kind of cash that will have Robin Leach calling you to be on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Cranking up the “lifestyle” too high during your working years and you might find retirement to be a rude awakening. If you are used to saving, and living a comfortable yet not opulent lifestyle, your retirement income might feel a whole lot like what you have been used to.
It seems one of the big barriers to creating wealth (aside from debt) is what goes on in our own heads. Or, as the article implies, what lifestyle we think we deserve to be living. It might sound like: Someone with my income wouldn’t drive a used car… I have a full-time job, so if I want Starbucks, I am darn well going to have it…. My family doesn’t ‘do’ leftovers… All my neighbors have a cleaning service… I think that we already live a fairly modest lifestyle, with the exception of vacations. This summer, though, a number of bloggers have opened my eyes to some areas where I have been unaware of my own lifestyle beliefs. If you haven’t met them yet, check out Creative Savv and The Prudent Homemaker. They are both showing me ways to create a healthy, frugal and less wasteful lifestyle … and I’m tuning out my inner brat who demands “Champagne wishes and Caviar Dreams.” Now I am off to pick (more) zucchini for dinner tonight, inspired to save a little more towards the things that really matter to me.
Have you ever given yourself a lifestyle adjustment?