Living Well Spending Less | Project Simplify 365

Welcome to™!

In a nutshell, Project Simplify 365 is based on the idea that consciously doing one small thing each day towards creating a simpler life can ultimately add up to a big change. You can read more about my personal goals here, or follow my progress on the Project Simplify 365 Facebook Page. Perhaps it will even inspire you to make some changes this year too. Your priorities and goals don’t have to be the same as mine, but hopefully we can encourage and motivate each other to do just one thing each day.

so it has come to this

by Ruth on November 14, 2012

I thought I’d be able to make it the whole year before throwing in the towel, but going through the motions for the next six weeks just so that I can write what is already on my heart right now seems disingenuous.

And the truth is that I am not quitting this project, just my self-inflicted obligation to post about it every day.

The purpose of this blog–public accountability–has been served.  For 11 months it has motivated me to make important changes in my life, to take the necessary steps towards a simpler life focused on the things that really matter.  I’m not there yet, but I am well on my way, and I have realized I am at the point where writing this blog is counter productive; my goal is to simplify and it only makes things more complicated.

In January I started this website based on the idea that consciously doing one small thing each day towards creating a simpler life can ultimately add up to a big change.

I felt oppressed by the excesses in my life.  There was too much stuff, too many distractions, too many things to do & too many places to go.  My kids had become caught up in a world of constant distraction, where every time we turned around there was a new activity to participate in or something shinier to buy.  I began to realize they could hardly sit still for 5 minutes without becoming bored.   And as a family, we had become so busy trying to manage it all that we lost the ability to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and simply focus on the things that truly matter: honoring God, spending time with family & friends, & giving to others.

These were my goals:

  • Put God first and spend time each day in prayer
  • Spend more quality time with family and friends
  • Start homeschooling my kids
  • Cook more healthy, well balanced, non-prepackaged meals (at least most of the time)
  • Nurture my own creativity and that of my children
  • Give to others & teach my children what it means to give
  • Purge my home of excess stuff

My prayer was that God would change my heart, grant me contentedness no matter my circumstances, and He has.  Our life is not yet the calm picture of serenity I have imagined, but we have come a long way in the past year.  My faith has only grown stronger as I have experienced firsthand the power of prayer and felt the presence of God in my life.   We’ve made a greater effort to spend time with friends and each other, and in June we started homeschooling.  Somehow over the course of the year my girls went from hating vegetables with a passion to embracing them, even requesting them.  Not every meal is a nutritionist’s dream, but my girls are healthy and happy and growing strong.

Over the past year, and especially in the last few months, as I sold my 2 most time-consuming websites and we went on a 2 month spending freeze,  I have found more time for creative projects.  The girls love helping and we will all happily lose ourselves for hours in a craft.  We have become more intentional with our giving, I started volunteering with the children at church, and we are also working hard to teach a spirit of compassion to our girls.

And we have gotten rid of SO much stuff!  Load after load after load of stuff has been given away or sold.  We can finally park our car in the garage and most of our closets, drawers, & cupboards are reasonably organized.  It’s not perfect.  We are by no means minimalists and we still have a lot of work to do, but it is much improved.

I think the most important change, however, is that these life goals are permanently engrained in my psyche.  I don’t have to consciously do “one thing each day” because I am already unconsciously working towards them all the time.

And so I quit.  Because I don’t need more things to do, I need fewer.  One blog is more than enough.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

xoxo, Ruth


kept very, very busy {10.10-14.12}

by Ruth on October 14, 2012

I’ve been trying my hardest to keep this site up-to-date but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day, ya know?  Anyhoo, this past week just sorta flew by, between all the cleaning and organizing and then preparing for my big church talk yesterday.  (Which went very well, thank you for all the prayers and words of encouragement!)  On Friday evening I had the HUGE privilege of doing my first photography session of someone other than my own family!  It was so much fun & I hope they are happy with how the photos turned out.  Of course it didn’t hurt that they are completely adorable. :-)  Husband and I had a fun moment this weekend when we decided to wash the car together (well mostly he washed while I watched) and then we…wait for it…PARKED OUR CAR IN THE GARAGE!  Oh yeah, that’s right baby!  First time in 8 years!  Can I get a little woot woot?


started cleaning {10.8-9.12}

by Ruth on October 9, 2012

This week is cleaning week on my 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge so I spent a few hours on Monday getting ready to clean and a few hours on Tuesday actually cleaning.   I can’t wait to tackle a few more cleaning projects this week!   There really is no better feeling in the world than a sparkling clean house! I know, I’m a freak.  :-)

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had a writing day {10.7.12}

by Ruth on October 7, 2012

I am speaking at church next Sunday & I am so nervous I think I might puke.  In fact I have a near panic attack every time I start thinking about it.  My sweet husband knows how stressed I am about it so he made a point of entertaining the kids the entire day, just so I could work on preparing my talk.  It’s not quite done yet, but almost, and I do feel more prepared, though not any less nauseated.  Thanks honey. :-)


attended a halloween party {10.6.12}

by Ruth on October 6, 2012

Can you guess what my costume is? :-)


taught a single mom how to use coupons {10.5.12}

October 5, 2012

I filmed a segment for WINK News where I shopped alongside a single mom of 4 to teach her how to save on her groceries and use coupons.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect ahead of time, but it was SO great.  Kristen, my “student,” was awesome & inspiring & by the end of [...]

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made yummy 7 layer bars {10.4.12}

October 4, 2012

After almost 6 weeks of no grocery shopping and eating from only our pantry & freezer, our food situation is starting to look a little bleak.  Luckily we’ve still got baking supplies!  The girls and I were desperate for a treat so we made the most delicious bars on the planet.  Yum!

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deep cleaned my house {10.3.12}

October 3, 2012

We had a major home-ec homeschool session where I taught the girls essential life skills like dusting, vacuuming, scrubbing toilets & showers & bathtubs.  They are getting better… goal is to have 2 personal servants well-prepared young ladies by the time they are 5 and 8.

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volunteered for KFC {10.2.12}

October 2, 2012

Another fun night!  Love those kids!

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introduced the kids to steamed edamame {10.1.12}

October 1, 2012

Yes, we are starting to get a little desperate when it comes to lunch options.  I had some microwavable edamame (soybeans) packets hidden in the back of the freezer and had I known how much the girls would LOVE them, I would’ve dug ‘em out a long time ago!  Princess declared that she wants to [...]

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