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Let Me Knit for You: Five Year Anniversary Giveaway

hat knitting | SimpleKids.netHave you glanced at the rows and rows of titles in the parenting section in your local bookstore or library lately?  Turned on the television to view a panel of experts debating the latest theories on ways to create a “perfect” childhood?  Walked down the aisles at the toy store and been overwhelmed by all of the choices, products, and systems?

Do you ever stop and wonder are we making this harder than it has to be?

That quote is from the about page for Simple Kids. This week marks the five year anniversary of me taking over as editor here.

Many things have changed since that first day. Simple Living Media is different. Simple Kids is different. And, it can be said without argument, that I am different.

For one thing, my family has grown and we’ve been through some personal ups and downs. The blog itself has been through some ups and downs as well. What once began as me, a team of 12 contributors and almost two dozen book reviewers eventually became just me sitting here at this keyboard telling your stories and sharing what simple living with kids means to me.

Here we are: five years. That’s almost a lifetime in blogging years.

To celebrate, I wanted to host a giveaway, but not just any giveaway, I wanted to do something special and personal.

So, I’m going to make you something.

Comments on this post are closed and the winner will be announced soon. Thanks!

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The Family Budget – February 2015

SimpleKids.net The Family Budget, February

After I shared our No Spend January some of you said you’d like to read more family budget type of posts. I write about our debt free journey for my quarterly Art of Simple posts, so I didn’t really think about exploring that topic here at SK.

However, the more I thought about it, the more a family budget series appealed to me, so I decided to test the waters with monthly updates as we do our budget.

Just promise me you’ll take anything I say here with a grain of salt, remembering that Christopher and I are digging our way out of some stupid large debt after years of really dumb financial decisions and that what I say and do applies to my personal life in a household of seven with the income and debt that we have (how’s that for a disclaimer?)

You know, your mileage may vary and all of that fine print.

SimpleKids.net The Family BudgetAs I said, January was a No Spend month for us, meaning we only spent money on essentials (bills, mortgage, food, etc.) and let me tell you, even after all of these years of living fairly frugally, that was a challenge.

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Kara’s Journal

Kara's Journal Feb. 5, 2015 | SimpleKids.netLong time no write, right? We pulled off the great bedroom switch of 2015 over the weekend (Christopher and I giving our master suite to the three girls, giving them more space, and then taking the little purple room for ourselves) and somehow in all of the chaos I managed to lose my laptop for a few days. Accidental blogging break, anyone?

(And who loses a laptop, anyway? Good grief.)

But I still wanted to get a journal written down for the week, so here are my mid-week thoughts.

I am thankful … for the ability to change and rearrange things in our home to make it meet our family’s growing needs. I am very aware that not everyone has this luxury, and it helps in all of the chaos and piles of belongings, to be able to view it as a luxury to have this space and these options.

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Knitting for Kids: Knitted Baby Doll and the Lyric Baby Hat

Kara's Journal, January 25, 2015 | SimpleKids.netI know that quite a few of you who follow this blog are knitters, so I wanted to share some things for kids that I’ve finished up lately.

(I also know that not everyone who visits here knits, so I don’t plan to share this type of thing very often. After all, I do have another space for my pointy sticks endeavors.)

I have recently finished up two projects for kids and both of them were simple knits with a lot of sweetness.

The first was a Lyric baby hat, which we are giving as a gift to a new little babe we know we made his appearance just before the holidays last year.

This was a free pattern and I used up scraps of yarn from other projects, so it ended up being a very frugal knit, but I think it turned out very sweet and special. I’m excited to see it on the head of the smiley little fellow it is intended for.

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Freezer Cooking for a Family of 7: Trying to Keep it Simple

freezercookingKaraMe, getting my freezer cooking groove on a few weeks ago.

Note: there are affiliate links in this post.

“Hey Kara, what’s up with all the freezer cooking?” You’ve been asking me questions here and on social media for a few months now, so I thought I’d share how I make freezer cooking work for me.

Freezer cooking has been a life saver for me! Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but it has been a sanity saver, which sometimes translates to the same thing.

I’m working from home as a freelance web content writer, I’m running two blogs, we homeschool, plus all of the general noise, hijinks, busy schedules, and chaos of life in a family of seven.

This could add up to a recipe for dinner disaster every night, but about six months ago I re-discovered freezer cooking and it’s been making a world of difference.

With seven people (3 adults and 4 kids from preschool to seventh grade) I have to make the freezer cooking process as simple as possible.

Here are a few things that are currently working for me when it comes to freezer cooking:

1) I don’t set aside a big freezer cooking day. I’ve found an 8 or 10 hour day in the kitchen, on top of a mega shopping trip before-hand to prepare, just doesn’t work with my life right now.

Don’t get me wrong: I’d really love to make a big once a month freezer cooking day work for me, because I can see the advantages of it.

It’s just that every time I’ve tried, at the end of the loooong day the results have been a cranky mama, cranky kids, and a big mess in my kitchen.* All of these things are, I’m sure, my own personal issues. But, I have to go with what IS and not what I wish was.

*However, after reading on my friend Cheri’s blog about this freezer cooking session from $5 Dinners that can be accomplished in just a couple of hours (as opposed to a whole day or even a weekend) I decided to give it a try.

I’m happy to report that I was able to pull the meals all together in less than three hours (okay, that does not include shopping time the day before, but still I think that was pretty good). I’ll let you know what we think of the recipes as we try them (so far, so good) and I’ll come back and update this post, okay?

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