A Day in the Life

I had my grandchildren overnight Saturday and noticed a unique quality to our day that reinforced, to me, the benefits of a simple, minimalist lifestyle.

We have time for the things that really matter.

It only takes a few minutes to sweep the bare floors, tidy up spaces, or toss food into the slow cooker so we can enjoy our time together.

Let me show you Saturday in pictures.

You may notice the children were wearing different clothes in them, this was due to the wide fluctuation in the temperatures, how dirty they might have been or simply because they love to play dress up. We started and ended the day in the mid 40s but had a high of 61 briefly in the afternoon.

When the children arrived the first thing on the agenda was to hunt bugs. My grandson figured out that slugs and snails like to live in the bricks around this planter bed.  He removes every single brick to collect the insects which are then relocated to an open field not far from my property, with the exception of the worms that he carries up to the raised beds in the yard.

Once all the bugs have been collected he will put the bricks back.  Mom or I will follow and straighten the bricks behind him.

He finds other insects that are admired and put back where they were.

Inch worm

He draws a crowd of children and adults alike who are impressed he knows the names of all the insects and which are good for the gardens and which are not.

Baby Praying Mantis

 

We then have to take a walk around the garden and town to see other people’s gardens

This is the healthiest marigold plant I have, yes it’s just one plant, but it has yet to flower.

Around town the children wanted to see certain houses like this one with a flower walk way.

Or this family’s pumpkin patch

They wanted to stop at the library where we read books and Little Guy played with the farm set.

Our walks take forever because the children have to stop to look at everything.  They also have to stop to rescue caterpillars and worms from the roads and carry them to safety before we can move on. Being the only adult on this walk I didn’t take photos while in the streets. Little Guy  has an obsession with autumn  leaves and stops to collect them off the roads as well. Here’s one of his saves.

Back home Little Guy practiced on his new bike that I pulled out of the trash

Coming in for lunch, we had to take time to play Princess.  Nails had to be painted.

And hair had to be done

A knock at the door from the neighbor boy asking if he could help with anything because he was bored saw this section of the yard getting cut. It’s been too wet in that area leading me to get my chair stuck.

He had his birthday party later in the day and brought the children  some of his birthday cake which they enjoyed after dinner.

I tackled with some help a section of my property that is difficult to keep cut. I planned to landscape this section with plantings but decided to make planters out of old tires and fill the rest with rock to prevent people from using this patch as parking for their cars after one hit and broke a section of my fencing.

Back inside the children made refrigerator magnets using leftover  scraps from sheets of magnets I used to cover the upstairs vents for closing off that part of the house in the winter.

Running low on laundry detergent I made another batch which the children love to help with.

 

Speaking of laundry, the children help me hang clothes to dry.  My granddaughter asked me why I don’t have a dryer she listened to my reasons then, as only a princess would, informed me that in Sleeping Beauty, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty’s name) hangs her clothes to dry too.  In the morning when mom and dad arrived to pick the children up she informed her mother that hanging clothes was fun because it gives people time to spend together.   I’ll convert at least one child to forego the clothes dryer.  🙂

When my daughter-in-law returned my recycling bin, (we don’t have recycling pick up in my community but she does so she takes mine home with her) but left it on the deck when she went home. In the morning I found it and left it there for watering plants. The next day it was half full, roughly six or seven inches of rainwater.

I scooped out some of the water for plants, the children then washed some of their toys while Little guy decided the house and this storm door could be cleaned too. He ran inside and came out with a rag from the rag basket. He’s our clean freak whose favorite activity is to grab a spray bottle and rag to clean.

One good thing about fresh air and activity is children sleep soundly.  While his parents complain that he wakes around seven in the morning, he usually sleeps until ten here.

With cold mornings I love bundling up in sweaters and having a cup of hot tea, the children enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.  Little Guy ate his breakfast at the table then carried his cup to this chair.  When I asked him why he couldn’t drink his hot cocoa at the table he replied that he was like mommy who drinks her coffee in a comfy chair by the window.

You can see some of my granddaughter’s artwork hanging behind Little Guy on the wall.

His parents think I’m crazy to give him a real ceramic mug, fearing he might break it, but he’s ever so careful because it makes him feel grown up.  Shortly after breakfast it was time for them to go home.

For me, simplifying my life meant eliminating television, processed foods, and clutter. This allows me the time to enjoy more of family and nature and share that love with the little ones. Like their older cousins, they have benefited from my lifestyle by having my complete attention when we are together.

What is the one benefit you found from simplifying aspects of your life?

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23 comments

  1. Thank you.

    Lois, I couldn’t stop smiling….

    Sharing this warmed my heart and made me smile the entire way through.

    You are a treasure, especially for all the children in your life, who will keep you in their hears/souls and habits for EVER.

    Hugs..

    (oh, and I think another reason little guy sleeps to ten at your house, but not at home…I am wondering…does he pop out of bed to check the morning cartoon show at home?)

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    • Thank you, Anon. It’s crazy how many children come to my property to explore or work. I’m happy to listen to them and their needs.

      No Little Guy doesn’t watch TV in the morning. But it is his one-on-one time with mom while sister is at school. They bake, read and play. The TV is usually off until after dinner when a movie is often put on to settle them down before bed.

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  2. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful day. But I must say I’m shocked by your weather! It’s still near 90 every day here, and my marigolds have almost all gone to seed by now. They’d probably be doing better if I’d watered them more, but twice a week is all I can manage. We haven’t had rain in over a month. No wonder I’ve never seen a garden slug!

    Anyhow, I LOVE that you let your grandkids use “real” dishes. Not sure why, but it seems like an important thing to teach children how to care for things that can break, and it bothers me when people don’t trust them enough to let them try.

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    • Hi Cat, yes our weather has been this cool most of August which has made it difficult to ripen some of the plants in the gardens. This is more like what we experience mid to late October so I’m quite interested in what kind of a winter we might be in for.
      As for rain, would you like some of ours? it’s raining again! Supposed to rain all night and for the next two days.

      Thank you, I hate to see children with plastic and love when they feel special with a mug instead of a plastic cup. Little Guy spilled a tiny bit of his cocoa carrying the cup to the chair and immediately put down the cup went to the rag basket then wiped up the spill.

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  3. Hello Lois! What a lovely day you all had, just how I like to spend time with my grandkids, too!
    We use crockery, too, mostly. My MIL wouldn’t have dreamed of using plastic anything in her very elegant home, which bristles with delicate ornaments, glass and china – she never moved anything out of reach, we just had to pay attention and train the kids as she did her sons, I guess. 😳
    But the kids do enjoy being “big” and trusted with real things. Even our doll’s tea set is real china, albeit quite thick, and has lasted my 3 girls and so far two out of 4 grandkids (the two smallest haven’t played with it yet).

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    • I find it interesting how quickly we accepted plastic and took away the every day dishes from children. I never moved anything out of reach of my boys and don’t do it with the grandchildren either. I’ve lost a couple of plants that Little Guy proudly uprooted and I do have to keep some of the tools put up but generally I let them use what they want.

      I have a tea set here but because it’s hard to get upstairs and the tea set goes up and down the stairs I opted for a stainless steel model. Hate to have a little one get cut should an accident happen.

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  4. So enjoyed your Saturday Lois, Oh to go bug hunting, and so helpful for them to learn what is good for the garden and what is not.. 🙂 and so enjoyed the activities of your day.. I loved the Princess dress up and nails and how the concentration and that tongue was stuck out while cleaning.. So loved that.. And no wonder they had a nap.. All that fresh air and exercise.. Wonderful
    Sleep-overs are special aren’t they 🙂
    Enjoy your week Lois..
    Sue xx

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  5. What a wonderfilled life your grandchildren get when they are with you. Mine grew up like that as well. TV was always present, but rarely on unless dad was home. He made his living from television and it was always on with him. Hence, no interaction with his children but then he was rarely home when they were awake. I still take the news and watch it in fast forward with the sound off making short work of it. The rest of the day it’s off.

    As for the clothes on the line, it’s the one rule I hate about this place. We are not allowed to hang out anything. I want to put out my comforter to hang in the air and it’s not allowed. I guess I wouldn’t want to see my neighbors tidy whities flapping in the breeze either but at least sheets and blankets for goodness sake, not to mention pillows needing a freshening.

    The photo of your grandson sleeping is priceless! You are right, all that activity will make for good sleep and I’m with you on allowing the ceramic mug. I’ll tell you, even my dog wouldn’t drink out of a plastic bowl. kids will learn what you allow them to learn. They will always rise up to your expectation.

    We had 90 degrees yesterday and our first rain may come in next week. I’m hoping it helps put out those fires. Couldn’t go out yesterday because the smoke was back here. My heart breaks for those that are trying to get the fires out. Then on the other corner of the country, we have a whole other story. I know the cold is hard on you and then you can’t get out much. It will be here before we know it too. Have a wonderfilled week, Lois. Hugs,

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    • I often think of you and the rules you must live by with your homeowner’s association. I would have been evicted by now if I was given a limited time to get work done. As for clothes drying it was only a generation ago that the majority of people hung their clothes out to dry. As for the tidy whities those could be hung indoors.

      Having a television on all day bugs me to no end, I don’t know how you put up with it when you were married to have it on every evening

      I have stainless steel cups for the children for water and such but hot cocoa needs a nice mug. The kids are careful with them but if one broke it wouldn’t be a big deal to me. I can’t stand to drink from plastic so it doesn’t make sense to give plastic to the children if I won’t drink out of it. Our dogs used to have metal bowls instead of plastic too.

      Wow! 90 degrees, I would love a day in the 90s! Yes, winter will be here soon for the moment I’m trying to live in the moment and enjoy the special moments autumn provides.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hang quite a bit to dry in the shower. Very little except towels and sheets end up in the dryer and I use the lowest heat and shortest time available, often taking them out way before the cycle is done. What they can’t see… 🙂 We’ve had our last hot day and now autumn is here. Rain all next week and cold temps.
        My son had the TV on the whole time he was here too. I like the quiet. My sister has to have it on as well. When my daughter comes on Sat, we only turn on house hunters international with our dinner to talk about where we might want to go visit. There is always a dialog about it. Most of our quiet time is spent reading and talking about our books. We read the same books and share them. 🙂
        Mugs are a dime a dozen at the thrift store. Can’t tell you how many I’ve given away. I have plenty for the army that often shows up here. 🙂 Have a warm weekend, Lois.

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        • The shower isn’t a bad idea. I keep my drying rack in my bedroom most of the year. When it’s a beautiful day I’ll take it out on the deck to dry my things faster. I also use the rails around the deck for the larger items like blankets and sheets.

          I used to watch House Hunters International too. It’s my way of seeing more of the world and how other cultures choose to live with their homes. I sure miss having someone to talk to about the books I read. My oldest son and I share books still but with him being a distance from me we no longer have our regular book sharing afternoons.

          I agree, while I hate to throw things out and have to buy new ones it’s a risk I am happily willing to take to let the little ones drink from real mugs.

          I am having a warm weekend for once!! It’s 79 right now and should be close to 80 tomorrow!!! It’s been hard to make myself come indoors today. Hope you are able to enjoy some outdoor time too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The temps are lovely right now. 80 going down at night to a comfortable 50 but can’t open the windows or go out. Smoke is bad from the fires again. RAIN tomorrow night!!!!! Everyone is so excited. Found out this week how bad my roof is all the way around but the rain is more important than the chance of a leak. I will have to figure out something soon. I’ve been in effect lied to or coddled. No one said how bad it was until someone showed me the pictures. OMG! I’m putting up an invisible shield to protect it this winter. Think it will work? 🙂 We just need rain and now. I know how hard it is to have your kid so far away. Wish mine was a tad closer but not living with me. My daughter was here all day and we always have a good time just reading and talking. She hangs most of her laundry too and dries only the large things quickly like her mom. No waste here if we can help it. The faucet handle of her shower came off in her hand Thurs and everyone ask if she had let the landlord know. She went home and fixed it herself. 🙂 She is so proud of herself. Me too. 🙂 I’m glad you let the little ones learn to use delicate things. It’s good for them. Giant squishy hugs my friend. Wish you were closer.

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          • I am so sorry to hear your roof is that bad. I don’t know if you could do this with shingles but have you considered coating the bad spots with roofing tar to make it last through another winter? I even used tar to rust proof the underside of one of my cars. I know it seals to metal but don’t know how it would work on shingles.

            You and I are finally having similar weather. It’s been dry here for a few days and we have been reaching up to high 70s, even hit 80 the other day then cool at night.

            Your daughter had a perfect role model! I can see you fixing your faucet too. Those are skills so many are lacking today. I wish they taught more basic life skills in schools today.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. What a lovely post. I adore your simplicity. I too do not use a clothes dryer, I hang my clothes on a rack and have a small clothes line. I look at my neighbors who obviously don’t recycle their garbage because their cans are overflowing and it makes me sad for the earth.Your grandkids will grow up to have wonderful memories of their childhood.

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    • Hi Sondra, it’s great to hear from someone else who hangs their clothes to dry! My neighbors are similar to yours, the amount of trash they put out daily is disheartening. Recently one mentioned she has three bags per day!

      I do hope my grandchildren, and all children, have wonderful memories of their childhood to look back on.

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