I knew this summer would go fast, they always do. And with my twin sister’s wedding mid-June, a new house to settle into, a garden to tend to, and a much anticipated vacation without kids (our first ever!)…my heart is full as I reflect on it.

And I can truly say without hesitation, having our home pared down to just the necessities made the summer months feel free and unhindered.

Here’s a few of the highlights…

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My twin sister got married.

I lovingly referred to it as her “Big Fat Indian Wedding.” It was a hot but perfect day on my parent’s farm, she married a wonderful man, and I’m so excited for her that the best is truly yet to come. (And SO glad the planning is over ;)

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We planted 47 tomato plants (literally).

We were very excited to have a garden at our new house. I purchased 25 tomato plants for ourselves so that I could can and 20 for my parents…but then their garden beds got removed for Diana’s wedding and my mom bought a couple plants herself and so wouldn’t you know, 47 tomato plants found their way into our garden with the cucumbers, lettuce, onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, watermelon and pumpkins.

The good news? I’ve had more than enough tomatoes for canning, we’ve enjoyed tons of cucumbers…and the rest…was slightly less successful. Good thing there is always next year!

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We did some landscaping.

And by landscaping I mean pulling out several of the overgrown bushes on our new property. Tom loves any excuse to destruct :) We’ll work on re-constructing next spring!

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I painted our kitchen island green.

One of the first things we did when we moved in was to replace the old linoleum with a wood grain vinyl planking. And so far it is indestructible and looks really nice (down the road when we remodel, we’ll probably put in hardwood, but this is a great, economical solution for a temporary makeover). The only problem was that it blended in with the kitchen cabinets.

So our kitchen looked like a brown and beige bore, so I added a little color to the island. I really like how it turned out and Tom is neutral. But this is also a temporary fix until a full kitchen gut job, so we can negotiate more at that time :)

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Our second oldest turned five.

Where does the time go? This little peanut will start kindergarten in a couple of weeks. It will be a new level of freedom having just two at home during the day (and no babies anymore)…I’m excited for the new season, but would also like to freeze them all at their current ages :)

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We got four kittens.

And this is how our youngest likes to carry them (the kitty was fine…really!). They are OUTSIDE cats, just farm cats from my parent’s house. In rural Minnesota mice like to move inside during the winter months, so we thought these guys could help with that. Their names are Pumpkin, Marie, Annie and Batman.

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We learned that even an 1/8th of an acre of sweet corn is ALOT of sweet corn.

The previous owner of our little farm was known for the sweet corn that he grew so it only seemed fitting to carry on his legacy. We even purchased his planter and tillage equipment with our house. So we’ve eaten ALOT of corn over the past few weeks, and given it to neighbors and friends, and have been freezing it. I’m guessing in January it will taste even sweeter :)

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The kids had s’mores for the first time.

I don’t know how they all got this far in life with never being at a campfire. Probably because fires usually happen after bedtime…or on vacation…and s’mores are messy…but one night while my parent’s were watching the kids they decided it was a great night for a fire and now every time we go to their house the kids ask if they can do it again :)

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We went on VACATION!

Before we had kids Tom and I swore we weren’t going to be those people who never left their kids. And somehow, here we were, eight years into marriage, six years with kids…and we’d only been without them for two nights…in six years…two nights…so we decided to leave the kids at home for the first few days of our lake cabin vacation and then my sister and her new husband were generous enough to meet us halfway so we could get them for the second half of the week.

It was an awesome, awesome time away and we are looking forward to doing it much more often :)

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We laughed, we celebrated, we swam, we picnicked, we camp-fired, we vacationed, we canned, we lived.

And, like I mentioned before, having a simplified lifestyle made it sweeter.

  • I never worried that I should be cleaning instead of gardening or taking the kids to the park or beach.
  • When we had unexpected guests around Diana’s wedding, I didn’t have to apologize or make excuses for a messy house, I only needed a few minutes notice to have it picked up and presentable.
  • Packing for vacation was quick (even with four young kids) because their wardrobes are pared down and I can tell you exactly where the life jackets and little swimmers and sunscreen and beach toys and everything else we needed are.
  • The kids played outside for hours, and mostly with sticks and rocks and other random things they found because we hadn’t unpacked their outside toys yet. It was fun to see them just be kids :)

It was sweet and fun and memorable and I can look forward to fall because we fit everything in that we wanted to. It went quick, but I knew it would, and I have no regrets about things that we didn’t get to or didn’t have time for…and that is a great feeling :)

I hope you had a great summer, too! Bring on the pumpkin spice lattes! ;)

Dawn

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5 comments

Reply

Congratulations on your new home and lovely summer. I look forward to seeing how you apply minimalism to a homesteading lifestyle. Is your new home larger or smaller than your last one? Have a great weekend:)

Reply

It’s a little smaller, but the space is used really well so it hasn’t felt like a downsize. It does have significantly less closet space (because it was built in 1940 as opposed to 2005), but I appreciate that, no temptation to keep things we only use once in awhile :)

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I agree the benefits of less closet space:) I asked about the size because I sometimes think of downsizing so that we have “forced momentum” to simplify. Do you think its harder to stay minimal in a larger home? Hope you have a great weekend!

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Ah yes, I do think that it takes more intentionality to live simply in a large house. I think it can be done, it just takes a little more effort. I found that by having more storage space in our last home we kept more seasonal clothing, and extra blankets for guests, and camping stuff that we’d only used once…none of it was bad, but since getting rid of it I haven’t thought about any of it again until just now. And I can tell you with 800% truth, that after living in all sizes of houses and in our smallest one to date, I LOVE having a small house (as long as it functions well). It is SO easy to keep clean and costs way less to heat and cool, and I think there is a certain peace that comes from living below your means, I felt like earlier on we had become home-glutinous (this is in NO way a judgment to anyone living in a larger home, just what we have felt lead to do–truly!!). So, for us, I’m really glad we made the decision to down-size, but I certainly don’t know that it is the best move for everyone, selling your home is a big deal and can be complicated by wanting to stay in certain neighborhoods, proximity to work and school districts, so I definitely understand that :)

Thanks so much for the response Dawn. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who has a harder time letting go of things simply because we have the space for them.

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