Sunday, February 28, 2010

Too many toys

My grandparent's have a wonderful 'toy bag' that they have kept for visiting children. It has entertained many many children of all ages .. and yet it is filled with things you might not recognise as toys. An old set of keys. A wallet filled with out dated money and cards. An old cell phone. Old ties. Old scarves. Some shells. A pair of goggles. Some ends of wool.

I looked at it today, watching my two children deeply absorbed in play with these 'toys'. I realised that, despite my best intentions, we have far too many toys.

Fortunately, we don't have a lot of junk toys ... being a 'Steiner' family our friends and relatives have been pretty respectful about not buying us $2 shop plastic junk. But even in the realm of 'quality toys' we have too many.

I have enjoyed challenging myself to think 'what would I take the in RV' (this is my fantasy alternative life where we follow the example of the Happy Janssens and live in a bus!). When it comes to toys, I think for my children the list would be:

- some lengths of rope that can be tied around trees to create swings and climbing frames

- some plain wooden blocks

- some small blankets (crocheted by Nana) and playsilks

- a doll

- a couple of small wooden cars

- some beeswax crayons and paper

- some stacking boxes

- balls - a cloth one for inside and a plastic one for outside

- a few favourite books

And that would be it!

Nature would provide the rest, twigs, leaves, shells, rocks ... stuff that can come and go. Also, the recycling bin is always a good source of play materials ... yoghurt pottles, milk lids etc.

So tell me (if any one is still reading this!!!) what would you take in your 'RV toybox'?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Always too much stuff

Those of you who read my post on simplifying will know that I strive for a simple, uncluttered, unhurried life.

A big part of that is managing possessions. It is all too easy to accumulate stuff, even though we try very hard to avoid the 'mall trall' and anything made in China. But somehow, it creeps in ... gifts from our generous friends and family, hand-me-downs, stuff the kids have outgrown, and of course, sometimes we just buy 'stuff'. And if I am not constantly 'decluttering' it gets out of control so fast.

At the moment my kitchen is getting a purge when I struggled to fit the juicer, the food processor and the slow cooker all in the same cupboard. Of course I can justify all 3 items as 'essentials', along with my electric egg-beater, my immersion blender, the toaster, the jug, 2 frypans, a crepe pan, my potato ricer, my hand egg-beater, 3 white square platters, 2 milk jugs, .... the list goes on and on.

I have decided to apply the same rule in the kitchen that I do in my wardrobe - if it hasn't come out in a year, then I don't need it. So that means I can keep my oh-so-perfectly-seasoned crepe pan, but only 1 fry pan. I can have 2 square white platters, but number 3 is surplus. And really, the slow cooker is starting to look a bit questionable too. Of course, some things I will keep because I am a teeny bit sentimental ... my nana-in-law's silver cutlery, my beautiful cake stands, my husbands beloved but unused beer glasses.

But everything else can find a new home.

One blogger who is my role model here is Sara Janssen. (I've raved about her before)You can read her new blog 'The Happy Janssens' if you need inspiration. 2 adults, a five year old and a 9 month old baby living in an RV. Enough said.

A devoted Christian, Sara feels that she is following the path of Jesus by not owning too many things, and many other faiths share a similar view. Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh talks about the importance of simplicity as part of the spiritual path, and one of the precepts his followers seek to adopt is:

Simple, Healthy Living - Aware that true happiness is rooted in peace, solidity, freedom and compassion, and not in wealth or fame, I am determined not to take as the aim of my life fame, profit, wealth or sensual pleasure, nor to accumulate wealth while millions are hungry and dying. I am committed to living simply and sharing my time, energy and material resources with those in real need. I will practise mindful consuming, not using alcohol, drugs or any other products that bring toxins into my own and the collective body and consciousness.

There are so many areas in my life that can be further simplified ... and the gains are great. Perhaps a new thought for me should be 'what would I talk if we lived in an RV'.

What would you need?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's cooking ....

is my new blog.

I have had to admit to myself that I don't have the time to blog with the level of research and thought that I like to put into my posts at domestically blissed. One day I will again ... and I look forward to that.

But for now, I have been putting up my recipes as part of my vegetarian journey over at Gypsy's Kitchen ... come and say hi!