Living a Full Life without the Busy

full life

It might be normal to come to the conclusion that if someone is embracing the not so busy life that she is spending a lot of her time doing a whole lot of nothing. A life spent (or not spent) doing a whole lot of nothing, though, is not the life of the not so busy mom. Although I don’t want to live a life marked by running around crazy busy, I do want to embrace this life and live this life with purpose. I have chosen to consider how I might let go of the busy and instead live a full life.

If you take a look at a typical week on my calendar you will see appointments, activities and other commitments. If you look in my notebook you will see to-do lists and cleaning schedules. I have things (and sometimes lots of things) going on in my life. I call it a full life. It’s a life that is lived with intention. It’s a life that I don’t want to waste. It’s a life in which and with which I want to honor God.

Perhaps you have recently wondered where all your time is going. Maybe you sign up for things or make commitments without much consideration. Perhaps you have a hard time saying “no” to people. Perhaps your car time far outweighs your home time. Maybe you’re doing certain things because you think that’s just what everyone else does. Maybe you just want to be done with all the crazy busy.

I would invite you to start evaluating your commitments and activities. Now is the time to start considering what areas of your life are too busy and might need a bit of a makeover. Living a full life without the busy can begin now and continue to be a pattern moving forward.

What about you? Are you looking for ways to live a full life without the busy?

Until next time,

Charissa

4 Traits of the Not So Busy Mom

Perhaps you are ready to move past a lot of the busy in your life. Maybe you’re tired of running here, there and everywhere, tired of squeezing in just one more thing, tired of feeling like you have to do it all; maybe you’re just plain tired. Life doesn’t have to be (and I don’t believe it needs to be) about being busy. As you consider letting go of the busy life and embracing the full life, reflect on and implement some of the traits and habits of the not so busy mom.
1. The not so busy mom lets go of perfection. Perfection in this world is unattainable, but how often do we beat ourselves up because we didn’t perform or produce perfectly? I think we do it far too often. Letting go of perfection and allowing ourselves to simply do our best or maybe even fail is good, normal and human. It’s important to put forth our best effort, to make progress, to set goals, to climb those high mountains. It’s even more important to realize that our worth is not tied up in what we do. The not so busy mom knows that striving for perfection will just add to the craziness and the busyness. The not so busy mom lets go of perfection.
2. The not so busy mom lets go of the need to impress. We can easily get caught up trying to impress those around us. This desire to impress can eat at us and consume us. We want our extended family to be impressed with our Thanksgiving menu. We want our friends to be impressed with the cleanliness of our home. We want our neighbors to be impressed with our new pool. We want our Facebook friends to be impressed with our family vacations. It goes on and on. It is exhausting. The not so busy mom knows she can’t impress everyone all the time. The not so busy mom knows she shouldn’t try to or want to impress everyone all the time.
3. The not so busy mom considers her priorities. When you have considered and named your priorities, you find that your schedule, activities and day to day choices begin to fall into place. So many things call to us begging for our time and energy. Some of these things are good. Some of these things are bad. Some may fall somewhere in between. The not so busy mom considers her priorities, so that her day is not full of the meaningless but the meaningful.
4. The not so busy mom plans ahead. Hours can get away from us. Days can get away from us. Even weeks can get away from us. Planning ahead helps our hours, days and weeks run more smoothly. Planning ahead allows us to make time for people in the midst of the daily, mundane tasks. Planning ahead allows us to live a full life.

As you consider moving past the busy, see if these are 4 traits that you presently exhibit or perhaps they are traits you are looking to develop. The not so busy mom is so much more than these 4 traits, but this is a good starting point.

What about you? Are you exhibiting or developing any of these traits?

Until next time,

Charissa

Quick tip: Use Audio Books to End Car Squabbles

It’s time for another quick tip! This is one I have been implementing with success for the last few months. The tip?! Use audio books to end car squabbles.

We have often listened to audio books on long car trips, but I recently decided to use them on short drives around town. My children were squabbling a lot, and I wanted to figure out a way to lessen this (often) daily occurrence. Audio books came to mind, and I decided to see if listening to them as we ran errands, drove to church, or headed to our friend’s house would make a difference. Thankfully, it did make a very positive difference. The children are doing a lot less squabbling, and we are all enjoying some great books!

Here are two audio books we have recently listened to and have thoroughly enjoyed:

Henry Huggins

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

What about you? Do you like to listen to audio books in the car?

Until next time,

Charissa

(This post contains affiliate links, so thenotsobusymom receives a very small commission if you make a purchase through these links.)

 

5 Simple Meals

Sometimes you just need a simple meal. I might even argue that more than sometimes you just need a simple meal. Don’t shy away from meal planning because you think every meal has to be extravagant. A simple meal can still be tasty and enjoyable. I hope the following ideas inspire you to add a simple meal into your weekly menu.

Note: I will not be including serving size and amounts of ingredients needed for each meal. These meals are so simple that you will be able to determine (for example) how many pita pockets your family needs to sufficiently satisfy the rumbling bellies.

  1. Pita Pocket Pizza                                                                                 Ingredients: pita pockets, pizza sauce, pizza blend shredded cheese, various toppings of your choosing (pepperoni, peppers, onions, etc).          Assemble pizzas and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  2. Crock pot Chicken over Tortilla Chips                                               Ingredients: chicken breasts, salsa, black beans, frozen corn, tortilla chips Place all the ingredients (except for the chips) in the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours. Spread tortilla chips on your plate and cover with a scoop of chicken from the crock pot.
  3. Cheese Quesadillas                                                                                 Ingredients: tortilla wraps, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa Place a large handful of cheese in between two tortilla wraps.  Warm/brown tortillas on griddle or in frying pan on low heat. Turn once to evenly brown both sides. Remove from griddle and cut into four triangles with a pizza cutter. Garnish with sour cream and salsa.
  4. Baked Pasta                                                                                            Ingredients: pasta of your choice, pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese            Cook pasta according to box leaving it more firm than done. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add pasta sauce to pot and mix with the pasta. Pour pasta and sauce into a 13×9 pan. Cover with mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  5. “Snacky” dinner                                                                                              Ingredients: whatever fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers you have            Prepare ingredients and place on plate. Beyond easy!

There you have it, 5 simple meals. Maybe you can choose one tonight!

What about you? What are some of your favorite simple meals?

Until next time,

Charissa

7 Things I Do to Make My Life a Little Easier

There are plenty of difficult things (both big and small) in life, so I like to make things easier when I can. The other day I was pondering some of the things I do that make my life just a little easier. Here are 7 of them!

  1. I wash my hair just 2 times a week. I find that I can get away with washing my hair just 2 times a week. My pattern tends to be wash, wear it pulled back a day or so, straighten it, use a little dry shampoo, and then wash again. I save time and money by just shampooing and conditioning twice a week.
  2. I order my groceries online. Peapod is the service provided by Stop & Shop which allows customers to order groceries online and either pick up the ordered groceries or have them delivered. If you have a Stop & Shop in your area that provides the Peapod service you can use my link below to save $20 on your first order. http://peapod.extole.com/v2/share/6314317426887085773
  3. I use my dryer as an iron. Overall, I tend to purchase clothes that don’t wrinkle easily, but if I do need to iron something, I choose the dryer over then iron. I put my outfit in the dryer on low heat for 1o minutes or so, and the clothes come out ready to wear. I can make my breakfast, take a shower, or do a quick clean up while my dryer does the work.
  4. My kids ride the bus to and from school. There are many different reasons people choose to drop off and pick up their children at school. So far we have had positive bus experiences, so I choose to send my kids on the bus.  I don’t have to wait for long periods of time in a drop off or pick up line, and my kids enjoy being with their friends!
  5. I menu plan. Menu planning before grocery shopping makes both the shopping and meal preparations much easier. I have been menu planning for many years, and I have found it to be very helpful in so many ways.  You can find my post about reasons for menu planning here.
  6. I eat the same thing for lunch everyday. Eating the same thing for lunch everyday is a helpful way to make that time of the day much simpler.  During the school year my 3 year old eats before me, and I always serve her yogurt and fruit or a simple sandwich. I always eat a salad. I know what I’m going to have each day, and I look forward to my healthy lunch.
  7. I assign chores for my children. My two oldest children have 3 chores that they need to complete each day. (My youngest tags along helping and learning as she goes.) Some chores need to be completed in the morning and some in the evening. I appreciate the help around the house and the skills they are developing. They appreciate the weekly allowance that comes with finishing their chores.

What about you? What do you do to make your life a little easier?

Until next time,

Charissa

Make It Work

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I just returned from a quick 1 mile walk with my 3 year old who sat nicely in her stroller. This is my second walk of the day. My first happened earlier this morning without my 3 year old (while my husband was home). Later this evening I hope to walk while I push my 3 year old in the stroller and my two older children ride their bikes. This is called “making it work”.

I would be very happy to walk 3 miles by myself in the morning while my older two are at school and my husband is home with the 3 year old. Right now, though, this is not the best option. I don’t want to spend a lot of the extra time I might have with my husband choosing to exercise alone. Also, my 3 year old is just now tolerating the stroller after about an 18 month stretch of pretty much refusing to ride calmly. These and a couple other smaller reasons keep me from taking that daily 3 mile walk in one stretch. 3 shorter walks is not my ideal, but I am making it work.

3 walks a day does have its benefits. It is nice to get out and move 3 different times a day. I do enjoy walking alone. I also enjoy the extra calorie burn that pushing a stroller provides. I treasure the time I get to spend with my two older children during our post-dinner walks.

There are so many areas in our lives where we just might have to “make it work”. Perhaps you are hoping to get more sleep each night, but your new baby is making that difficult. Make it work by going to bed a little earlier than normal or taking a 20 minute afternoon power nap. Maybe you want to read more books this month but can’t seem to find the time to sit down. Consider borrowing audio books from the library and listening while cleaning or driving to work. Perhaps you want to have a “clean the whole house day”, but your 4 young ones make a cleaning day impossible.  Instead, choose a room a day to clean; or maybe just set the timer for 20 minutes each day and do what you can. Make it work! Don’t become discouraged by your inability to accomplish these things as thoroughly or completely as desired. Sometimes you just have to make it work!

What about you? How are you “making it work”?

Until next time,

Charissa