I'm always working towards a more simple way of living, making things as simple and as easy as possible. I suffer from fatigue, here's why. I need things to be simple.
My morning routine was anything from that. I'd wake up, fix breakfast for Miss K and Little L and then set about the task of packed lunches. This is the bit that would always get me down, slicing homemade bread, crumbs flying all over the work surface from the electric knife, grating cheese, figuring out separate fillings for both the girls and then moving on to chopping fruit or veg, picking out their pudding, filling their Klean Kanteens and then cleaning up afterwards on top of washing the breakfast dishes.
Since Little L started school in September, I've been preparing packed lunches five days a week for both the girls, which made the chore twice as long. It left very little time for us all to get ready for our day and would usually end up with me rushing, which was stressful within itself. Then I would rush and hurry the children which is not a nice way for anyone to start the day.
The chopping board, the cheese grater and extra knives would all need to be washed. It all adds up to extra work and extra time, every single day. I would prefer to spend that extra time braiding Little L's hair the way she likes with her sat on my lap.
I needed to make one small change which would make a big change to our mornings. It was a simple and easy change. I needed to cut out preparing packing lunches from our morning routine altogether.
I now make a big batch of homemade granary rolls. I make them the size I know each one will eat (large rolls for Miss K and tiny ones for Little L. I split, butter, fill with grated cheese or grated cheese with marmite, put in little individual freezer food bags and pop straight into the freezer. The bread roll recipe makes enough for both children for six days of packed lunches. Now, I wake up in morning at 7 am, take a filled roll from the icebox for each child and place in lunch boxes with fruit, and a pudding. A daily job that was taking me at least twenty minutes has been reduced to about two minutes and with no mess to clean up afterwards.
One small step to streamlining my day towards a simpler way of living.
Since we have moved, books have been scattered and piled throughout the children's shared bedroom and have been damaged from not being stored properly. We don't have room in our tiny cottage for a bookcase so as well as our wicker baskets we've been relying on a large, plastic crate to store children's picture story books.
I decided to reach for Simplicity Parenting. In Chapter Three, Kim John Payne states:
" Books are often the second major form of excess, given that books are viewed in the same light as toys. As parents, we want to promote reading (play), so we figure that the more books (toys) our children has access to, the more they will read (play)."
Too many toys can lead to a child becoming less deeply engaged in play as they skit from one toy to another. Fewer toys, and a child can become more deeply engaged in play as they are not distracted by something 'new' to pull them away.
The same could be said for books. The more books a child has access too, the less deeply they may read as they rush onto a 'new' one. Since we have moved, we have used the library weekly and between Miss K and Little L they are able have 24 books out on loan at any one time with their library cards. Combined with their books already at home, this was a lot of books!
I found that Miss K was jumping from one book to another midway through stories and would often sit with a pile of six or so on her lap at anyone time, dipping in and out, 'consuming' them. But was she enjoying them? Yes, on some level, I'm sure she was, but becoming deeply involved in the story and the characters I'm not so sure.
I decided to start her on a series of longer, more involved stories then what she had been reading and chose 'The Famous Five' and have been going to the library less often and only selecting a couple of titles at a time. She's now reading the books one by one and not jumping from story to story. She told me last night, 'I've not been able to take my eyes off this book!'
When the children come in from school this afternoon, I'm going to set Little L the task of dividing her picture books into at least two halves and then storing one half out of reach and leave the remaining half in the bedroom with the goal of being able to rotate books in and out while simplifying their environment.