The Simple Life (and a giveaway, too!)

The following is a guest post by Donna Ashton of The Parenting Studio.  Be sure to read to the end for a special giveaway.  This giveaway is now closed and the winner will be announced soon.  Thank you!

In this hustle bustle world of instant everything, is there any wonder we are craving a simpler, more mindful flow to our days?  The noise of life, crazy schedules, always being “connected” can make one wish to live in a little house on the prairie.

I had this thought one day after watching a movie: how nice  would it be to have a little cottage with no electricity? To live by the rhythms of the sun, immerse myself in chores like churning butter and kneading bread.  Then, my sister texted me and I was brought back to the 21st century.

But that doesn”t mean we can”t balance our hectic lives in a more simplistic way. Maybe we get the best of both worlds. We have a choice to unplug and enjoy the tasks of our grandmothers.

How do we do this?  Here are a few ideas…


By creating a strong rhythm, we support this balanced lifestyle with a structure that  give us  freedom.

Here”s what I mean: if each day you have no plan or flow of what happens in the morning, afternoon or bedtime then you end up making it up as you go.  This creates the “trying to catch-up and be 1-step ahead of your children” syndrome who are begging you “What”s for lunch?  What are we doing today?”

You end up thinking up something quickly and pretending you have it all together. Or maybe you just put it back on them, “What would you like to do?”  That can also be scary.

With a gentle rhythm in place, there are less decisions you need to make because it is already decided – morning chores, breakfast, walk and then playtime.  Within the structure is plenty of opportunities to sprinkle in the fun stuff. And now you have more time to plan these fun activities!


This realm goes hand-in-hand with rhythm but is about balancing this 21st century with your butter churning.  There are things you will have go do and your children will want to do.  Yoga, book club, carpool, soccer, dance, gymnastics, music lessons… this is in addition to normal errands, library, and shopping.

Our lives have become a quest to enrich our children”s lives and let them try every possible option.  I invite you to think of your child”s life as an unfolding process.

The keys to balanced scheduling are to decide if it is really necessary. If your activity gets canceled and you are cheering, then it may be time to drop it.


If the thought of decluttering your home is making you exhausted, you may have some work to do!  I have a hard time going through my day while eyeing up all the piles and clutter I see.  It is an energy drain on us and it is overwhelming to our children.

Did you know that too much stuff causes children to see our world in a shallow way? They never develop the capacity for deep play and getting steeped in their environment if they flit from toy to toy.

Each time I clear out the toys and set out just a few open-ended items, my girls will race over and start creating a story with their imaginations.

Slowing down and embracing this conscious living is simple, but can take a bit of rearranging within our current lifestyles.

As a homeschooling mom and entrepreneur, I know how important it is to  keep things as simple as possible. When I read Kim Payne”s book Simplicity Parenting, I knew I had found something truly unique. My passion for this work led me to become a certified Simplicity Parenting group leader so I can guide others to live the Simple Life.

Free Audio

You can listen to the free audio “Why Simplify? How to turn your chaos into calm with Simplicity Parenting

The Giveaway

Donna is generously offering one Simple Kids reader a total scholarship to the Fall series, Simplify This Fall which begins on September 15th. *

*note: the winner would be responsible for the course materials at a cost of approximately $25.

To Enter

  • to enter, simply leave a comment on this post

This giveaway will be open until midnight EST Friday, September 9th.  I will announce the winner on Saturday, September 10th.  Good luck! This giveaway is now closed and the winner will be announced soon.  Thank you!

Discount Code

Donna is offering all Simple Kids readers a discount code for Simplify This Fall.  Use the code SIMPLEKIDS to get $30 off your registration to the course.  If you register for the course and are chosen as the scholarship winner, Donna will reimburse you.

Donna Ashton has devoted over 5 years to learning Waldorf Education and homeschooling her twin girls. She brings her experience with raising her 8½ yr olds in a mindful way to help struggling homeschoolers and parents trying to balance their daily rhythm and get clarity in homeschooling.
In 2009, she created The Waldorf Connection to bring the experts directly to online homeschoolers. She is now a certified Simplicity Parenting Group Leader so she may bring this amazing wisdom to her families and help them simplify and balance their homes and lifestyles.
You can learn more about Donna and her programs, workshops, and products at The Waldorf Connection and The Parenting Studio.

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at

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  1. I thought I was the only one that dreamed of living in the middle of nowhere with no electricity.
    Marci´s latest post: Trim – One Room Down!

  2. I would love to simplify my life. I have SO much clutter and want to get rid of most of it. I just struggle with the “What if I might need it?” dilemma. So then stuff piles up and then when I do need it I don’t know where it is or that I even had it to begin with. I need to break this vicious cycle soon!

  3. this sounds so great! i’m just starting out my adventure of full-time stay-at-home parenting this week– I have 3 little ones, 4 year old boy, 2.5 year old girl and 9 month old girl. I’d love to learn about keeping things simple. :) thanks so much for the possibility!

  4. Count me in! This sounds great! I am new to the SAHM thing (3 yo and 1 yo, and one on the way). I could use all the advice I can get. :)

  5. I’m sending my child to public school and working out of the home….man do I need to simplify. I still feel this need to be a super-mom…maybe I need to start there 😉

  6. I have been working on simplifying things around our house, but have so much further to go. I really need this course to help us continue. I feel like we have cleared out “the low hanging fruit” so to speak, but not sure how to get us any further along. I see the beauty and benefit of simplifying, but just not sure how to get there ourselves. Thanks for the chance to win this course – it would make a big difference in our home!

  7. We have made much progress toward simplifying, My latest has been to simplify meals- a work in progress but getting better. I would love to win this course and continue our process. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. Sounds like a wonderful course!

  9. i’d love to win!
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  10. This program looks so helpful. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the giveaway!

  11. I have the book on my to read list. We are on a quest to try and simplify.

  12. Sounds like a great class. I plan to listen to the audio. Thanks!
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  13. I had Payne’s book out from the library but had to return it when it came due–so the accountability of the Simplicity group would be awesome!

    • Emily,

      Yes.. that is what REALLY makes this group so amazing. The
      accountability part keeps us motivated. And it is so nice
      to be part of a group of moms going down the same path.


  14. This looks great! I’m striving for a simpler life and up for anything that could help.

  15. I would be SO excited to win a scholarship to the course! I am in the process of a whole-life simplification to help make our small farm in rural Utah the best place on earth for our particular children to be… what a cool opportunity!

  16. I need to do some serious simplifying after adding a second baby to our family. Living in a small house, clutter happens all to easily!

  17. Boy do I need to simplify my life right now. I can’t think straight there is so much clutter in our house.

  18. I’d love to win!

  19. I really need to simplify my life, so I would love to take this class.

  20. Erin Monaghan says:

    I would love this book. I’m in the process of trying to simplify my life by focusing on priorities!

  21. Something to bring peace into my home!!! I am all about it!!

  22. I would love this! We just started homeschooling this year and my house is suffering. Could really use some simplifying. Thanks!

  23. I keep working on simplifying, but I don’t seem to be getting far! I would love a chance to read this book and can’t wait for the series to start!

  24. This course sounds wonderful. My newborn makes three kids under five, so any enhanced-parenting tricks and systems sound fantastic to me right now.
    mama mogantosh´s latest post: Happy Fathers Day

  25. I would love this. I will begin by putting into practice the ideas from this post. I so long for a time when I no longer spend the day stressing about how to better fulfill my roles but that I just do it– routines are in place, home is decluttered, schedules are simplified… I’m slowly getting there.
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  26. I would love this course! i seem to take a few baby steps forward and then life happens and I take a few big steps back. I think the accountability of this course would be a great launching pad. Thank you!!

  27. The funny thing about living simply is … it’s hard! I could use all the help I can get!

  28. We’ve worked hard as a family to keep our lives simple, but it seems easier in some seasons of life than in others. With our oldest daughter now a teenager and on the brink of high school and our 7-year-old leaving the public school for our first venture into homeschooling, we are coming into a new season and things are feeling a bit chaotic. I would love to take this class and work on finding our rhythm again!

  29. I’d love to win this scholarship :-)

  30. As your website said, simple moms and simple kids. Kids can be simple when they
    see their mom knows to segregate wants and needs. By the way 75 percent of kids personality is mold on what they see on their mother.
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  31. The post is perfectly timed. We’re having a little trouble adjusting to the new rythm of the house with a full time school child and a non-napping preschooler. I think a little simplicity could help.

  32. i totally relate to this post.

  33. I’ve got an old farm house you can live in. We just got the water installed – no more carrying from the rain barrel! :) I’ll have to exercise soon with all these new conveniences saving me so many calories.

  34. I am drawn to simplicity – sounds like something I need:)

  35. Oh, how I need this!

  36. this would be wonderful!

  37. What an amazing giveaway! Thank you for this lovely opportunity!

  38. This book has been on my Amazon wish list since it came out.

  39. I read Simplicity Parenting this summer and loved it! Thanks for the opportunity!
    Casey´s latest post: Mystery Box

  40. Donna,
    I would love to take this course. I started by journey to simplify in November 2009 by ending my six figure job to be a stay at home parent to my three kids. My 39 year old brother had just died. I realized I had to take charge of my life and create what I want rather than follow the social norms. Kim’s book hit home for me and it sits on my nightstand. Yet, I find that it is hard to stay on track year after year. You see an immediate pay off but it is something you have to stick to. On the days that I find “hard”, I realize I am not following the simple life. I would love to learn simple techniques to keep up this life style especially before Christmas.

  41. It is so true, our kids will benefit so much when we get back to basics and simplify things, instead of thinking they need more and we need to do more. Would love to explore this even more!

  42. I always think about going back to simpler times. I had to laugh when you said you got a text message from your sister.

  43. This sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. Thank you for the chance to win!

  45. Thank you for your thoughts on simplifying – and for the giveaway!

  46. It’s so encouraging to read that other women would like a little house on a orator but are trying to have the best of both worlds. :)

  47. Loretta S. says:

    I borrowed this book from my library and loved it so much that I now need to own so as to have a reference for when it is needed. Because of it, I started a nightly tradition of eating our bedtime snack via candle light. Great, great book!!

  48. Vicki Rowe says:

    I can totally attest to how great it is to have Rhythm in the family home. We recently have been creating some rhythm after reading “Simplicity Parenting” and the change in my children is fantastic. They love the certainty and look forward to specific days and tasks now,

    I can see that they are so much happier and they are 8, 9 and 11, so for me it has been definitely better late than never.

    I love all the wonderful ideas I get out of “The Simple Life”

  49. Oh! So need simplicity parenting these days! I think rhythm is so key to parenting…getting a routine that you and your children (or in my case, child) are used to seems to add so much peace to the day. I must say, we are still working on achieving the balance of all of it! Guess we will always be- such is the nature of this life!

  50. That sounds amazing…would love to be a part.