Striving For A More Simple/Minimalist Life - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 199 Old 10-01-2009, 09:14 PM
 
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Yes! I can't stand shopping! I only like thrift stores and used book stores and I only like shopping alone..once you get kids involved, or dh's it SUCKS!!!

I got gc's for my b-day and got so flustered shopping that I ended leaving in tears..poor dh thought I was having a nervous breakdown...I just kept rocking saying I HATE SHOPPING I HATE SHOPPING!!!
Shopping has been known to have that effect on me, too. LOL. Christmas time is when I really hate shopping more than ever. People are so MEAN to each other at that time of year. The stores are packed and I find the whole process really annoying.
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#62 of 199 Old 10-02-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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I'm interested! I need to refocus our goals

Jessica, Single Mama to Lailah(4) and Christopher(2)
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#63 of 199 Old 10-02-2009, 03:37 PM
 
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Joining this thread!

I have always valued simplicity to some extent, but I haven't always been good about achieving or even striving for it. Right now my life does NOT seem simple to me at all. I am hoping that inspiration from you ladies via this thread in my inbox will help! One request...whoever starts a new thread in the future, can you post the link in this thread, so those of us who are subscribed by email can come find the new thread...

Anyway, great thread! Hope to learn. I am also very interested in hearing more about financial independence and freeing yourselves from external schedules.

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#64 of 199 Old 10-02-2009, 10:03 PM
 
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So simple living mamas, how are your holiday plans changing or changed since embarking on this "simplicity journey"?

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#65 of 199 Old 10-03-2009, 12:39 AM
 
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the holiday thing! wow....we announced to the family that we aren't doing any more "lists" or store-bought anything for the holidays, and if we find something that just screams that someone needs or wants it, we get it for them and send it to them then, not hoard it until the gift-giving season...
That said, we do some holiday type giving, especially since dd is a little person and loves surprises, but it's more the St. Nick day type of thing, and advent calendars with a twist (and we're not Christian by any stretch!). I just never want to get into the "gotta fill up all that space under the tree so it looks so wonderful!" mentality. Packages come for dd and my first reaction is to cringe about where I'm going to put the thing.
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#66 of 199 Old 10-03-2009, 02:24 AM
 
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So simple living mamas, how are your holiday plans changing or changed since embarking on this "simplicity journey"?
I plan to make Christmas 100% about my family and only handmade gifts. I did it my son's first Xmas and it was the most beautiful Christmas Ive ever had. My mom always went way overboard with the consumerism when I was little. It turned into a greedy competition between me and my brother.

My son's second Christmas I thought I'd give the regular present style Christmas a try. It felt awful and I hated it. He liked opening the presents so it was just a race to see what every one was and he didnt stop to enjoy any of them. It was just, what's next? The whole thing was a waste of money and felt so ungiving really because he didnt care about that kind of gift. This year its back to basics again. I will handmake him something truly special. If every body handmade gifts they would put a lot more thought into what they gave other people and make them something they would really like, or something really useful. Instead its too easy to just buy someone something totally irrelevant to who they are as a person.
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#67 of 199 Old 10-03-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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So simple living mamas, how are your holiday plans changing or changed since embarking on this "simplicity journey"?

I started making gifts last year and am making EVERYONE'S gifts this year. It started w F-I-L getting a knit pair of socks this year(his mom use to knit him socks every xmas, and it's a tradition he really misses),so I'm knitting his right now, I've knit a pair to send to my S-I-L in s. korea. I'm not sure what to send my B-I-L(he's teaching there and the apt they are in is very minimal by canadian/american standards) and I'll send them a fam picture. Then when my grandma heard I was knitting socks she mentioned how she loves knitted socks so she's getting them too. M-I-L's getting a cd of my dh playing piano. Then everyone else is getting a fam picture in a frame decorated by ds(which means I can buy cheap ugly frames since they'll be painted over) and/or a homemade gift geared towards them.

Ds(3) and Dd(just under 1 at xmas) are both getting quilted growth chart blankets to hang on the wall, knitted organic cotton softballs with bells in them to toss around the house, sock monkeys using xmas socks and knitted socks for their stockings
Dd is getting a homemade wooden pull toy that F-I-L is making from santa
Ds is getting a "quiet book" that I'm in the middle of making, and a fishing game that I'm making from Santa

I'm unsure how we're doing the holidays this year. We do celebrate Solstice as a family(dh me kids), then christmas ends up being the outside family(grandparents aunts uncles cousins) so we will give nature solstice gifts at solstice....

And ds wants santa to bring him popcorn..so I'm pretty sure Santa can fit that in his sleigh

mommy daddy son daughter = our family
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#68 of 199 Old 10-04-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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Hi, everyone! We moved into a new apartment in July, graduated from Grad school and started new jobs in August! I feel like I have really stepped off the path of simplicity.. I decluttered quite a bit when we were moving, but there was a lot of neccessary spending after graduation and for the new job (DH needed almost an entire work wardrobe!) and things got out of hand.
We ended up using most of our "saved" money (not savings, but for living on in case it took longer to get a job) just on junk. DH got a new bluray player and some other electronic junk, he just got a GPS for his job (which was sort of needed), but just all sorts of things. Clothes shopping, buying extra stuff. Just crazy.
I really hate shopping and I just want it all to stop! Just in time for the holidays! lol

Anyway.. I am making my way back now. I need to declutter a bit and find some better ways of organizing things in our new apartment. It already fills too full and constantly chaotic!
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#69 of 199 Old 10-04-2009, 03:07 PM
 
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So simple living mamas, how are your holiday plans changing or changed since embarking on this "simplicity journey"?
YES!! This is sort of how we went to a more simple life, but we did lead a pretty simple one to begin. I was at a LLL meeting several years ago and I was in charge of the library. The flylady book was a new book. I read it and I started decluttering myself. I called a local charity to come to my house later that month. I told them one large box and maybe a bag or two.

So I started going thru stuff. It ended up being almost 10 boxes!! 90% of the crap um stuff was gifted to us one way or another from xmas, bdays, wedding whatever. Even baby shower stuff we "had to have" we were told by the giver(s). I started thinking of all the stuff I had stood in line for, bought, brought home, wrapped, and brought for whatever occasion. Then unwrapped and never to be seen again. How much had I spent to stuff others' closets like my own?

We told our family we were no longer exchanging and spending that money on a much needier family, usually one from our town! It took a few years, most agreed and I would tell them, the money you spent for our stuff, you can donate or spend on something else. The only holdout to this day would be my SIL. She loves to spend money, add to their 5000sq ft of home, stepford wife lifestyle. Whatever, to each their own, but it causes issues each and every year for her. She cannot stand that we wont exchange, buys stuff anyhow and we usually donate it or "forget" it while leaving so she gets the point. I might still have gift cards for a salon that is totally out of my way to use.

We stopped attending their Xmas eve party, we prefer to go to mass and have a quiet evening, and again it causes issues for months after. She wont talk to us at all unless there is an emergency and it forces us all together. DH and I now make bets about when she will call us in Dec and how much of an issue it will be.

But in spite of all of this drama, we still prefer a quiet xmas eve which is also my birthday.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#70 of 199 Old 10-04-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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I think one of the hardest things for us is people feeling bad for us? If that makes sense.
We have had that a few times. We are not poor by any standard and we try to help out others in every way we can. We are just choosing to live a life that we can enjoy today and not have to worry about the bill coming to pay later or having to work more to pay that. Of course that is a gray area. We are currently remodeling our master bedroom and the bathroom. We could have paid someone to come in and that would have ran close to 25K for what we are doing. It will in the end run about 4K or so. Its taking a bit longer, we are putting off buying a shower door for $1300 for a while and using the curtain because we want to finish paying the remaining balence. Its not much and should be free and clear by Dec 31st. But we can be put out for a few months and use our free time and energy or spend the next few years working away from our families to pay off 25K. Plus having that debt over our heads as well.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#71 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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Our holiday times are changing slowly as the girls get older. We've been asking the grandparents for "lessons" in place of "gifts" and they've been happy to help us out with their music and dance lessons. It saves us some money and it's a nice addition to our homeschooling.
The book "Living Simply with Children" has a great chapter on "simple holidays" that struck home with both my DH and I.

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#72 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 09:12 AM
 
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WE are hopefully finally going to nip this Christmas monster in the bud this year. We have been working on doing this gradually and easy for a long time, but it is not cutting it. We have tried compromising in the framework of what dh's family sees as a good Christmas however, they have yet to actually compromise with us. The always end up still buying waaaaay tooo much stuff. So, after years of trying to work this out with them, we are just opting out. We will be seeing his family in a few weeks for a family get together and will be telling them then that the only gifts we will exchange is for kids ie school age kids. If anyone else wants to give us things they can donate to a charity or give us something homemade. I have tried keeping it simple on my end by making everyone homemade things, but that just added HUGE stress on me- stress figuring out what to make- stress getting it done and then stress because they don't like it because it's homemade. So, as I said since for them the only way to do it is to spend an insane amount of money you don't have on ridiculous gifts then we just won't participate.

I also don't want the kids to think that is what Christmas is about some huge consumerist spectacle. To us it is a religious holiday.

Amy1st- that is so how I want our Christmas to be- to go to Mass and have a quiet evening. I am tired of our family getting the leftover time. We want to start our own traditions.

Happily Married to my : 11 yrs- Mama to wild-eyed monkey boy 7-04, fiery little girl 4-07, and the happy smiley baby that sleeps 11-09!
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#73 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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Subbing.
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#74 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 04:15 PM
 
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Joining!

I was going nuts with school 6 days a week in the summer and then caught the flu last month. I'm immunocompromised, and even though I'm doing much better these days healthwise, it's still trying - and I'm still in my first trimester.

Just now dragging myself out of all that burnout. Set the alarm for 5:30AM and biked over for 6:30 yoga. Got laundry out of the way and am now going to work on the living room once I finish on MDC.

I'm not going to force myself to get this disaster of a house in order. I'm going to continue to do my hobbies like yoga and do what I can cleaning-wise each day.

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#75 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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subbing (still reading through the thread, but I dont' know that I have much to say yet other than 'ditto')

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#76 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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One of the things that helps to keep me motivated in this lifestyle is to step back and look at what I've "done right" lately. I actually just posted a list of "little things" on my blog this morning... it includes things like that I bought local tomatoes and lettuce, I used cloth tissues for my LOs runny nose, I paid my bills online instead of with paper/mail, I sewed a couple of new cloth diapers, and I read to my kids every day and snuggled with them almost every night (sometimes daddy takes the snuggle shift )

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#77 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 08:52 PM
 
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Subbing.

We're in the midst of mindfully downsizing from a 2800 sf home to a sailboat. With 3 small kids I thought I had kept my home pretty minimalist, but I'm still dealing with trying to get rid of so. much. stuff. I'm really looking forward to having less stuff to deal with and less space to clean.

We're already simple when it comes to family/lifestyle stuff. We home school, and the kids have opted to not participate in any activities.
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#78 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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So I work at a music school as a receptionist...I LOVE MY JOB..granted I'm only there 1-2 days a week and today was an extra fill in shift(so moms/kids Ive not worked with)...I just couldn't believe it. I was dealing with CRAZIES! These women are talking about their kids wanting xyz for xmas, the cost of competitive dance/hockey/ect, litle girls walking out in outfits that are worth more then my entire wardrobe, no wait worth more then mine AND dh's entire wardrobes and I just sat there stunned. The moms are running to swiss chalet to get dinner while their kid is in lessons b/c they have to go straight to another activity after...I'm just thinking WOW do you ENJOY your kid? Seriously, do you speak to them?..Is your whole conversation....hurry up,lets go dance starts in 10 min, heres a sandwich GET IN THE CAR...HURRY UP!

When I mentioned to a mom that I was making all of dc's gifts this xmas she looked like I had two heads...wow, I still love my job....but my heads still spinning from WATCHING them live their lives...I couldn't imagine LIVING it!

Oh and we won't get into the Mama who couldn't reschedule her ds's drum lessons for Thursday b/c theres too many good shows on...something about Gray's?

mommy daddy son daughter = our family
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#79 of 199 Old 10-05-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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Just saw this website (it's new) but thought of this thread and wanted to share the glow:
Zen Family Habits. One of the authors is the buy behind Zen Habits, which is pretty great. But I love this one's family focus.

Chessa , mama to Silas T (6/06) , wife to Chad . Welcome August Emerson! 2/8/10
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#80 of 199 Old 10-06-2009, 09:48 AM
 
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I have enjoyed reading all the thoughtful replies. I like what the pp said about focusing what I did right.

Yesterday, I said 'yes' to a friend and went out sit at Border's to knit/chat. Since I work several evenings a week (after dinner), I usually like to stay home and put the kids to bed. But, this was so simple and enjoyable I am glad I went. While enjoying the company, I also was knitting a chanukkah gift for one of my son's.

Maggie
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#81 of 199 Old 10-06-2009, 10:01 AM
 
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Hello mamas, I hope you don't mind me jumping in. I am right now in the process of going through everything we own and getting rid of things we don't need and can do without. About six months ago I thought our barn would be ready so I packed up everything we don't use on a daily basis, this included a lot of my kitchen items. I kept one glass for each member of our family, one plate, etc. Well, moving is off till Spring, and now I have found I don't miss any of these things. I am planning to donate to some families in our area.

I am hoping to use this experience to teach my children before they are off on their own. I am subbing and hope to learn many things from you mamas.

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#82 of 199 Old 10-06-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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I have enjoyed reading all the thoughtful replies. I like what the pp said about focusing what I did right.

Yesterday, I said 'yes' to a friend and went out sit at Border's to knit/chat. Since I work several evenings a week (after dinner), I usually like to stay home and put the kids to bed. But, this was so simple and enjoyable I am glad I went. While enjoying the company, I also was knitting a chanukkah gift for one of my son's.

Maggie
This is what I am talking about! You can say Yes to things you want, not to the 3 xmas or holiday celebrations, or a golf outing morning, party in the afternoon, and then dinner out sort of days.

Kind of off topic, my BIL is head of a program run thru our local metro area food pantry. He runs a program that helps people who are rehabiltating their lives enter a food service program and become chefs, caterers etc. Part of his budget this year is to start a library of different books such as recipe and cook books but other related topics as well. I went thru my cook books and other types of books and donated 12 books. Some were cook books, but others like the book written about laptop lunches, ominoves dilemna, and showed him a few more titles to order. It was nice to help someone else, but also make a dent in my bookshelf since I have to take away in order to add more.

It seems like I go thru this decluttering ritual every quarter or so, even like when the season change.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#83 of 199 Old 10-06-2009, 07:12 PM
 
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It seems like I go thru this decluttering ritual every quarter or so, even like when the season change.

My aunt used to have this policy (dont' know if she still does) that if she brought something into her home she had to get rid of something...so for example she wouldn't buy any new hangars--if she bought a new item of clothing, some old item had to go. If she got a new book, some old book had to go... I don't do that exactly, but i do try to think really carefully before bringing anything into my home (or giving it as a gift) "is this something that will get a lot of use/can serve multiple purposes?" If it's only good for one thing, or won't really get used that often, then I typically don't get it. (Although I do also consider size...if it's tiny, I might go ahead and get it...but if it's big--say, a special roasting pan or something--then I tend to forgo it.) For example, I look at my MIL who has this huge set of fancy china. She has two entire cupboards full of it, and you know how often she uses it? Christmas and Easter. That's it. 363 days of the year it sits on those shelves collecting dust. I'm sure it's worth 100s of dollars, and it is beautiful, but wow! I opted to go with simple white corelle plates--practical for every day (unbreakable and not too pricy), but absolutely workable for formal meals too if I just put out a tablecloth and some candles or something.

~Jenni, rural frugal Alaskan, eternally married to Dragon
loving my wild things DS Wolf (12), 3 angels, DS Bear (6) & DS Eagle (3)
 

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#84 of 199 Old 10-07-2009, 01:01 AM
 
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Jenni-We have the same philosophy here as your aunt! I just recently went through DD1's shoes, which are going to be given to a friends small daughter. I also like replacing multiple items with just one good quality item. So today, 5 pairs of shoes went out and were replaced with just 2, a sneaker and a Mary Jane shoe. We stocked up on tights for the Mary Jane's and un-earthed the winter boots from the storage bench! Yea!

Summer: crafty mama to 2 little girls and wife to Bob
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#85 of 199 Old 10-08-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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I have another question for all of you - how do you balance having/doing less with the need for a creative outlet? I really enjoy "crafty" kinds of things, but I don't have the space or the desire for a fully stocked studio. I usually have some kind of project going and it is always something that will be used as opposed to purely decorative (or art for the sake of art), but it is still more stuff. And there is only so much we need (need being relative of course) and so much I can give away to make room for other things.

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#86 of 199 Old 10-09-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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I have another question for all of you - how do you balance having/doing less with the need for a creative outlet? I really enjoy "crafty" kinds of things, but I don't have the space or the desire for a fully stocked studio. I usually have some kind of project going and it is always something that will be used as opposed to purely decorative (or art for the sake of art), but it is still more stuff. And there is only so much we need (need being relative of course) and so much I can give away to make room for other things.
I have my crafty stuff organized into one place. IT can be a rolling bag, tub or desk area. Now, my Scrapbooking stuff is all in a rolling bag so I can go to crops etc. I used to just scrapbook at my very large kitchen table, but now the kids are older, its impossible. So I go out to the late night scraps etc. I also keep it quite organized and I declutter after every other cropnight so I am giving stuff away etc. Like, I am not having any more babies, so I put the light pink stuff and baby stuff in a pile at a recent crop and someone else used it. I did a wedding book several years ago with my wedding proofs, so I passed on the wedding stuff too.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#87 of 199 Old 10-09-2009, 11:13 AM
 
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#88 of 199 Old 10-09-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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I'm joining this thread because we've come to downsizing and forced simplifying due to circumstances. The weird thing is, we had planned to do this at some point but we weren't real sure how we'd swing it. Dh ended up losing his job so we've been pushed-HARD-into doing stuff that's been necessary but things we'd planned to anyway. KWIM?? As in, desperation has forced us to look at things we assumed we had leisure to change.

Serendipity has led us by the nose into a smaller house with a large plot for garden. This cottage even has a clothesline and a basement for storage. I tell you, things have come together for us in strange and remarkable ways! I recognize a couple ladies (maggie and brighton woman, I think) here from another site I belong to-hey girls! Anyway, joining in and looking forward to re-reading the whole thread!

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#89 of 199 Old 10-09-2009, 08:13 PM
 
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My houseplants never do well inside. I'm tired of struggling to keep them alive (barely). I will open a window when the house needs air purifying and enjoy my clutter free spaces this winter.
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#90 of 199 Old 10-10-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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I want to put some plants in our master bedroom. We have a sort of Asian, craftmans style to our home and now our bedroom. What would you suggest?

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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