Small House

Earlier this year, we made an offer on a small farm and put our home on the market. The seller wasn’t willing to negotiate one bit, our home didn’t sell and we realized it just wasn’t the right timing. At the beginning of May, we decided to take the ‘for sale’ sign down again.

So, why are we staying? 

We like our home. It’s in a great location about 15 minutes from my husband’s work, our church and town. We have great neighbors, we love our shaded front yard, fenced in back yard and garden plot. And, while our home is small, it’s just right for our family.

Living in our small home comes with benefits like a very affordable mortgage and there’s less to clean!

A week after we took the sign down, our church had Joe Sangl of I Was Broke, Now I’m Not teach on personal finances. We attended his financial coaching leadership seminar and church wide financial learning experience. His teachings gave us renewed excitement about our finances!

At the end of the weekend, we set several goals for our personal finances. The big goal we set is to have our mortgage paid off in 5 years (and we’re really hoping to knock it out before then!)

We are willing to sacrifice our dream of owning a small farm temporarily so we can put ourselves in a better financial position to purchase a small farm in few years. By waiting until we are in a better financial position to purchase a farm, we will eliminate a lot of financial stress that comes with having a large mortgage.

We’re staying in our small home because it makes the most sense for our family financially. 

Now that we’re focused on this goal, I’ll probably be sharing a bit more about our personal finances and how we’re making steps towards this goal. I’ll also be writing even more about living minimally in a small space since we’re fully embracing the home we’re in.

Defining Frugality

Frugal is a word that I often use to describe our lifestyle.

To our family, living frugally is positive. Many people think of frugality in a negative light, viewing it as deprived or miserly living.

What exactly is frugality? Is it positive or negative?

Here’s a definition:

Frugality- The practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services to achieve a longer term goal. 

This definition of frugality explains our lifestyle in one sentence.

“The practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner”

The first thing that comes to mind when I read this is budgeting. When you are on a budget, you are restraining yourself from excessive and haphazard spending.

We definitely approach goods and services in a restrained manner; shopping is not a hobby for us. We truly evaluate wants versus needs and give in to very few wants.

As far as services are concerned, my husband cuts our boys hair, I never get my hair cut at a salon (my husband will trim it for me or my friend cuts it), and we change our own oil.

“and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services”

Instead of purchasing items the minute we want or need them we will evaluate the things that we already have to see if something else can be used or made into the item that we need.

An example of this, I once needed a bedskirt for our guest bed. Instead of spending $20+ for a new one, I took a queen size flat sheet and made it into a bedskirt for the full bed. Not only is this being frugal, it’s also being conscious of consumption.

“to achieve a longer term goal”

For us longer term goals are the reason we live a frugal life. When we married, we didn’t have much money, but we agreed and started working towards two financial goals. The first was that I will stay home with our children and the second was to own our home and have it paid off in 15 years.

If we didn’t live frugally, it would be very difficult to raise a family on a single income without feeling constantly deprived (we’re content with our 10+ year old cars, our small home and minimal wardrobes). We also wouldn’t have been able to put a significant down payment on our home and only have a 15 year mortgage. Achieving these goals are why we live frugally.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of exactly what frugality is. It is possible to live frugally without being miserly.

Do you agree with this definition of frugality? Do you view frugal living in a positive or negative note? Does this explanation change your opinion of frugality? 

*Definition of frugality from Lifestyle of the Tight and Frugal: Theory and Measurement by John Lastovicka

Favorite Children's Books

We love reading.

Our children love having books read to them and all three enjoy looking at books. Our homeschool curriculum is literature based. We even keep a selection of books in our van for them to ‘read’ while they’re riding.

Of course, not all children’s books are the same. There are many books out there that are considered ‘twaddle’. We prefer quality, classic children’s books that inspire and spark imaginative play!

Here’s a list of our favorite books for baby, toddlers and preschoolers as well as a few of my favorite parenting books.
Baby Books

Baby

For babies, we like simple board books with bright pictures. We really like Bright Baby books, they’re simple with big pictures for chubby little hands to point at and learn basic words. We also like books that are interactive (like touchy-feely books).

Toddler Books

Toddler

The best books for toddlers are books with bright, colorful pictures and not too much text per page. Our toddlers have all loved animals and trains so we have several of those type books on this list.

Preschool Books

Preschooler

As children grow, their attention spans begin to increase and you can start reading them books with more text per page. Of course, they’re still young children so illustrations are still very important!

 

Parenting Books

Favorite Parenting Books

While these aren’t children’s books, they all have been inspiring to me as a parent of young children and I wanted to share my favorites!

What are your favorite children’s books? (I love book recommendations!) Are some of your favorites on this list?

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

What defines you as a Mother?

When I first became a mama over 5 years ago, doing certain things defined me as a mother.

For awhile I described myself as a ‘breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering mama.’ And, while I did all of those things (and still do), they don’t define me as a mother.

Now, I do these ‘natural mama’ things because they are what work for me and my family.

  • Breastfeeding all 3 of my babies has been easy. But, I know it’s not easy for every mama.
  • I wear my babies because it makes taking my children places so much easier. Wearing my babies also allows me to fix dinner, fold clothes, wipe bottoms and do other household tasks even when my baby does not want to be put down.
  • We cloth diaper because it saves our family money. Diapers are expensive and I love that we’re able to reuse our diapers over and over and have saved a lot of money over the past 5 years of diapering. But, cloth diapering doesn’t work for every family and that is perfectly fine.

Now that my oldest son is 5, my thoughts on birth and taking care of babies do not define who I am as a mother because I realize that there is so much more to mothering than how babies are born, diapered or fed.

With my oldest being kindergarten age now, we’ll officially start homeschooling this fall. ‘Homeschool mama’ will be a way to describe myself, but it’s not going to define me.

Who I am as a mother is so much more than how my child is educated. Our family chooses to homeschool for our reasons and other families choose public or private schools for their reasons but we all want the best for our children.

Being a mom should not be about trying to prove that we’re better than other moms because of the way we give birth, care for babies or educate our children.

No matter how a child is born, how they are fed, diapered or educated, they’re all children. And, all children have tantrums, get sick, fight with siblings and leave their mamas exhausted.

Being a mama is hard and the last thing we need to do is define ourselves by what we do or don’t do and compare ourselves to other moms.

Instead of viewing motherhood as a competition, it should be viewed as a sisterhood. We need to remember that we’re all in this together.

We need to encourage one another. We need to support one another. We need to help one another.

We need to let love, support, help and encouragement define us as mothers.

What defines you as a mother? 

Encouraging books about motherhood:

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope

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