Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Simply Living

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading read on at the bottom of this post by clicking the links to the other participants' posts.
Because of the time difference, some links may be invalid for up to 24 hours. If that happens, please check again later.

Now that things are moving more quickly on the adoption front, it is time for us to start saving in earnest. The move, the Mr’s driving course, the car and scooter used up all of our savings and we need to get the adoption fees in the bank and ready to go.
That means simplifying and budgeting.
Budgeting I can do in my sleep but do not look forward to. I grew up in a welfare dependent family for most of my childhood, left home at 16 and lived below the poverty line until I got my MA scholarship and teaching work at the university. But, even living on $28 a day I managed to organise my finances well enough to make monthly donations to charity, so I have no fear that I can’t get the amount we need into the bank. It’s more that, despite the worthiness of the goal, I feel reluctant to let go of the comfortable lack of worry about money I’ve enjoyed over the past few years. It was such a nice change from the rest of my life to be able to afford body butter from The Body Shop whenever I wanted instead of making the one tub I got for Christmas last all year. One thing that is making me feel happier about the impending tightening of purse strings is this gorgeous Moomin household accounting book I got for Christmas.
Technically it was three Christmases ago, but stationary is for hoarding not using, right?
I love the little Moomin drawings for food, bills and other categories
Envelopes for receipts, stickers to mark pay day, rent day etc

I love stationary, I love Moomintroll, and it makes budgeting seem less like deprivation and more like… keeping a journal. Or maybe scrap-booking.

Simplifying, unlike budgeting, I am looking forward to. The past few years we had too much going on in our lives and our health and happiness paid the toll. It isn’t easy being a vegetarian in Japan, and when times are busy I fall back on huge bowls of white pasta in sauces from a jar- little nutritional value, a lot of sugar, no protein. Fewer commitments doesn’t just mean spending less, it means having more time to cook nourishing meals. I’m also looking forward to seeing how creatively I can cook to reduce our food budget. I got this recipe book a few years ago but haven’t had time to experiment with it.
The title is a pun. Yasu is a casual way of saying "cheap" and "uma" is a casual way of saying "delicious", hence "yasuma"
It has recipes for 30 yen a serve (about 32 Australian cents), and although it isn’t vegetarian specifically, a lot of the recipes are tofu and vegetable based.
Spicy tofu for a few cents a serve? Yes please!
A sheet of tofu skin as a pizza base? Genius!
Without a question though, the best thing about spending more time at home is reconnecting with the pleasures of playing with the dogs. Our relationship has been reduced to feed-walk-feed-walk-bed for the last few months, and I miss enjoying them. On my last day of Christmas holidays I unpacked one of the boxes we still haven’t got around to since our move (six months ago… we really have been that busy!). It was full of old towels, and the dogs very enthusiastically helped my unpack them. We had a good half an hour of fun just with the towels and the cardboard box, and I was able to enjoy it with them rather than pushing them out of the way because I was rushing to get on to the next task.

The force is strong with you young shiba

Feel the power of the Dark Side

Budgeting I hate to think about, but simplifying? I can’t wait!
Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading by clicking the links of this month's posts on what simple living means to our participants. We hope you will join us next month, as we discuss new beginnings!

  • The Moments In Between - Amber from Heart Wanderings takes her yoga practice off the mat to focus on the ordinary moments which make mothering magical.
  • Simple living - what it looks like to me - Does simple living mean we have to be selfish? And what does selfish mean anyway? Mrs Green from Little Green Blog ponders in search of a more simple life...
  • A Simple Life is a Peaceful Life, For Me - Destany at They Are All of Me writes how simplicity is a very necessary part of her daily function and crucial for coping with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Getting Back to the Basics - Minimalism was the first step toward living simply for Momma Jorje. Now she's got big plans on getting back to the basics of living in order to live a simple, healthy, family-focused lifestyle.
  • Simplicity - What living simply means to sustainablemum and how it is woven into the fabric of daily life.
  • The Simple Life: A Work in Progress - Joella at Fine and Fair ponders her idealized vision of simple living and discusses the steps she's taking to get closer to it. 
  • Simple Living is Simply Living - At Living Peacefully with Children, Bart and Mandy hope to help their children focus on what is truly important by simply living.
  • Happiness, not Greatness - Lauren at Hobo Mama discovered that ambitions got in the way of simply being.
  • Shifting to Simplicity - At Authentic Parenting, Laura shares a couple of ways in which she tries to simplify her life.
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  1. Thank you for your submission. I was so surprised to read that eating vegetarian isn't easy in Japan. Good luck to you on your journey!

    1. Thank you very much for including me! I imagine Japan would be easier for a pescatarian, but even so there are many hidden downfalls (animal fat is even used in apple pie pastry!).

    2. But lard makes it so tasty! (That is, until you realize what you're eating...)

      Let me know if there is anything you want/need from the western world on your journey to simplicity and frugality, I'd be more than happy to send you a care package!

    3. Naw, you're so lovely :) Ditto if you miss any weird Japanese snacks or Engrish t-shirts!

  2. What an interesting perspective! I always enjoy reading and learning about other cultures. I too was surprised that eating vegetarian is difficult in Japan. It looks like you have a good system to it though.
    Thanks for the great read!

  3. I think your post shows that simple living is truly a lifestyle choice that we make, regardless of income. It's not about going without, it's about doing what is really important to us. Thank you for sharing. I hope you will join us for next months Simply Living Blog Carnival.

  4. I want that book! Only I want it in English. It looks like it would seriously simplify budgeting because I suck at it!

  5. I find simplifying fun too - but with it, sometimes a knock-on effect IS that the budget becomes easier. For example, you mentioned playing with your dogs for half an hour; perhaps that stopped you hiring a DVD to watch or going out for a drink because you were having so much fun - know what I mean? Have fun with the cooking; I find cooking a delicious, healthy meal on a budget a fantastic creative challenge :)

  6. I hope you continue to find ways to make your simplifying easy and fun as I am sure that will make it a pleasure rather than a chore.

  7. Ha — the dog photos are hilarious! And yes, stationery is for hoarding. Or so say my boxes of stationery… Your budgeting book is wonderful, so I hope you end up having fun filling it in.

    I have that same push-pull when it comes to budgeting and simplifying. I enjoy not thinking about money, so I get irked when I have to think really hard about where every cent goes. But at the same time, it ends up making me more focused on what's enjoyable in life that's free.


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