Simplify Saturday

If you've ever taken steps to simplify your life or home, then you know that it's not just a one time deal. It's an on-going that takes diligence and commitment to maintain. There are lots of little tricks that you can implement to make it easier for you. In our family, one of the things we try to do weekly is a purge of our "extra stuff". I've nicknamed it "Simplify Saturday". You could pick your own catchy name. Like "Thrifty Thursday" or "I Want Less Wednesday". :)

Every Saturday, we get out grocery bags and we walk around the RV and grab stuff that we are not actively using or something that we know someone else will use more than us. Most of it comes from our closets. It's amazing how few clothes a person actually wears on a daily basis from their wardrobe. You have to be brutally honest with yourself and only keep the clothes that fit these criteria:

  • I wear this on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • This makes me feel beautiful.
  • I have to wear this for work.

Yep. That's it. Get rid of the rest. If you don't LOVE it, it's gone. If it doesn't fit you very well, it's gone. You will feel a bird. If it helps you, you can say Bella's mantra out loud as you go: "I can give more stuff away if I just try harder".  In fact, just today she told me that she really doesn't like hanging clothes up and she wanted to give most of her clothes away so she just had a few things to put away. I was all for that. So she went through and gave away another bag full...on top of the bag she already did yesterday! I love this girl. She's hard core.

To make it even easier, I've now implemented a giveaway drawer. Everything we come across during the week that we want to giveaway goes in that drawer. Out of sight, out of mind. Even items that we think we MIGHT want to get rid of go in this drawer. On Saturday, we go through it one more time and the drawer gets emptied into a bag with the rest of the stuff. Many people have another version of this...and it's just a box by the back door. That way, you see it when you're walking out and you remember to take it to Goodwill or your thrift store of choice.

Keeping clutter at a minimum is the key to a less chaotic home. Clutter saps your energy! It makes you feel overwhelmed. When your home is uncluttered, so is your mind. Live clutter free and be happy.

Happy simplifying!

Three Year Dreadiversary

I have made it to the THREE year mark...that "magical" time when dreads come into their own. The rumored "three year bliss" does exist. My dreads are finally long enough, tight enough, wonderful enough to love fully every day.

This year has been a crazy one. Full of wonder and magical moments. Deep joy...and deep sorrow. Endings and beginnings.

It started out with us being back in Bozeman and living in a house. We found an amazing midwife and friend. We lived temporarily in Boulder, CO for 6 weeks. Then, my brother almost died. Then, my grandma died. Lucy was born! Family visited. And more family visited. We bought the Minnie Winnie. We did some traveling and some more traveling. We sold the Minnie Winnie. We bought the Big Alpine. Then, we sold everything AGAIN and went back on the road. With TWO kids this time. We explored Washington, Oregon, and California. We flew back to Iowa. We flew back to Montana. We drove 15 hours back to Minnesota. We flew back to the RV in California. Whew!

And that was the year of 2009. All without the stress of doing my hair. LOVE IT.

Yes, LOVE. I have not once regretted my decision to dread my hair. I really can't imagine myself without them now. They're just a part of my being. Some observations in the third year:

  • My washing/drying process hasn't changed much. I still wash about once a week (every 2-3 days in the summer) with diluted Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap and rinse with diluted apple cider vinegar. I usually dry them a little bit to fluff them up. I will occasionally wash just my bangs mid-way through the week.
  • Many of you have commented about the loose hair that I have in the front. It's always been that way...they just never dreaded up, and I like them that way! :)
  • I dye them blonde about every 3-4 months. I go to the Aveda training school in West Des Moines whenever we're back in Iowa. The first time was pretty funny...they didn't really know what to do with me and my crazy hair, but after they figured it out, it was fast and cheap! I love them blonde and I don't really ever plan on dying them back to my natural color. I have been throwing around the idea of putting in some color on a few purple. I love purple.
  • My hair continues to be a spiritual journey for me. They have taught me about acceptance, change, contentment...and I continue to learn from them daily! I choose to be "set apart" from the norm of our culture...which parallels my walk with Jesus.
  • I've been wearing them down a lot more now that they are longer and I like the versatility. I wore them back/up/under a bandana for 3 years and I paid those's time to let them fly! I wear a rubber band around my wrist all the time though...I probably put them up and down 3-4 times a day depending on what I'm doing at the time.
  • They still do their own thing. Some ends are looser than others. Some are super short, some are very long. Some are stick straight and others are like a winding country road. Some of the roots are loose and some are tight. And I like it that way. You cannot "tame" dreads, and that's the beauty of it. I really don't mess with them much except to wash them.
  • Lucy loves my dreads. They are her built in toys and teether.
  • I looove beads in my dreads. They make me happy.
  • I have an incredibly supportive husband who loves my dreads.
  • How long will I keep them? Forever I hope. When I am old, I shall wear purple...and DREADS!

In this third year of dreadiness, I have had the chance to meet up with more fun dready mamas. In Portland, I met up with Shauna and Monica. I love those beautiful, talented women! And of course Bethany and Jordan and Gillian in Eugene with their crazy amazing dreads.

In October, I was able to experience the "dready love fest". I had the chance to visit Stephanie, "The Dread Goddess" at Akemi Salon in Portland (on far right in photo below). She did some much needed maintenance on my dreads...I recommend her HIGHLY! You can read about it on Denise's blog here. For those of you just starting out and want to skip a lot of the craziness, she "crochets" dreads instead of just backcombing and they look great right from the beginning. It's worth traveling to Portland to see her! Love love love.

When you have dreads and you are able to spend time in the presence of others who have dreads...especially other women, there is just something magical about it. There is such acceptance and's awesome. That's why I love traveling so I can find all of you!! :) Anyone up for a huge dready retreat somewhere where we can all be together? Hmmmmm.... :)

Fast forward to right now...we are in San Diego, where we have spent time with the lovely Boho Girl, Denise and her family again. She took all of the amazing photos of my dreads. Thank you thank you thank you Denise...for making me feel beautiful!! We had a wonderful time communing and eating together...the time flew by too fast. She wrote about our time together on her blog here. If you aren't reading her blog on a regular basis, you should be!

Here's to another year of adventures...on the road, with dreadlocks!

If you are new to my blog, here are the links to: Why I Have Dreadlocks One Year Dreadiversary Two Year Dreadiversary My Dreadlock Journey - A Photo Gallery

Photos used with permission - by Denise Andrade - Boho Photography

Kindle Adoration

kindle outside When we were on the road last time, I am pretty sure the right side of the RV was grossly over the weight limit. That's where all of my books were stored. This time around, I came up with a solution! Let me introduce you to my new favorite space saving, lightweight, environmentally friendly KINDLE!

I first heard about the Kindle on Jess's blog...she was raving about it and I thought it was a fun idea, but I didn't think about it any further. Then I saw another person raving about theirs online. Then I did an informal Facebook poll and was overwhelmed at the number of people who had a Kindle and LOVED it. I was hooked.

kindle inside

I researched A LOT and found that although there are several electronic book reading options out there, the Kindle was the most popular. I did think about waiting for the Nook, but I'm impatient (it's not released yet). When Apple releases one in the future...I'll be all over that one. :) Anyhoo...I talked with Matt and we both agreed that the Kindle would be a smart option for someone who is on the road full time.

I ordered it. It arrived. I fell in love.

Here is why:

It looks cool...and I like to look cool. :) How can you not love that green cover? Oh my word. Love it. No seriously, the Kindle just really has a nice feel to it. It holds well in your hand, with or without a case. I prefer the case because with kids, I worry about it getting stomped upon. It's also a little easier to hold while I'm nursing at night, because the flap blocks my book light from Lucy's eyes (yes, book light...there is no back light to prevent eye strain).

Accessibility. I can read anywhere...anytime...and have MANY different books with me at one time. Up to 1500, in fact! :) I can also read major newspapers from around the world, magazines, and blogs. I mostly stick with the books, but I do enjoy reading single issues of the newspaper once in a while. I love that when we are away from the RV, I don't have to load my bag with 2-3 books that I am reading at the time. I just grab my Kindle and go. AND, I know that if I need to, I could download a new book from Amazon in less than 1 minute (literally). Everything is delivered wirelessly on a cell signal (already set up and included when it arrives).

Good for mama. I think Kindles are great for the mama crowd. There are no paper books to get strawberries smashed into, pages ripped out of, or thrown in the pool. Only an expensive electronic device to ruin. ha. That's why I bought the extended warranty, which allows for one (and one only) replacement Kindle if you break it.

I've fallen in love with reading again. I've always been a reader. I love transporting myself to another time and place through a book. But, since having kids, I can't remember the last time I FINISHED a book. Completely. To the last page. Since receiving my Kindle, I've finished three books (Tales of a Female Nomad , The Help and Unschooling: A Lifestyle of Learning...all of which I LOVED! The Help was amazing). While on the road, we can't check books out from the library (usually) it's so fun to be able to read all of these new books.

I'm reading books I wouldn't normally read. Now I'm starting to sound like a commercial for Amazon :) They don't pay me I promise! I love the option to "sample" books on the Kindle. You can search through the Amazon website and if something looks interesting, with just one click, it will magically appear on your Kindle via wireless delivery. You can read a chapter or two of the book, and then decide if you want to buy the rest. So great. This feature is also a tool to help keep a list of books you want to read in the future.

Many of you are purists when it comes to your never ending obsession with books and reading. You wouldn't even think about replacing that hardback in your hands with an electronic device. I'm not going to argue with you :) I too love the feel of a real book in my hands. I love the smell and the familiar feel of it after you've been reading it for awhile. And let's not forget the power of books as an "object" in your home. They serve as decoration and conversation starters. I love looking at other people's books on their can learn a lot about a person that way! :) Some of my favorite books could never be replaced by a Kindle version (i.e. The Material World, Hungry Planet, etc).

However, the Kindle serves a very specific purpose for me...and that is to allow me to have an abundance of books with me on the road without taking up space. And as an added bonus, it happens to be environmentally friendly because I'm not out buying paper books.

There are only a few downsides to the Kindle in my opinion. They are pretty expensive. And I've found that it's really easy to rack up the dollars when it's so simple to buy books (for ONLY $9.99!) :) But that's it. I haven't found much that I don't like.

And now you're wondering, what is on Sara's Kindle? Well, let me tell you what I'm reading and sampling right now :)

Tell me your favorite books...I love a good page-turner, one that I just can't put down! What should I read next?