Our Simple Lives - readers stories, part 2

26 April 2008
This is the second part of our simple lives. It's been a real eyeopener to me to read all these incredible stories. Thanks to everyone who shared their simple story.

Lis at alteredcutlery write about how she lives simply with two children, an ex-husband, a new partner and a job. Lis is a great cook so check out her story and stay for the cooking, here.

Jessica is in the USA and she writes:

Hi Rhonda Jean,

I enjoy your blog. It's inspiring for me!

I began trying to live simply when my husband went back to school full time and we needed to cut back on expenses. We lowered the temperature that we heat our home and covered the windows with blankets in the winter. I line-dry our clothing outside when weather permits and use lines in our basement otherwise. When our youngest was born, we went with cloth diapers instead of disposables (I love them!) I've been composting, too, and my husband is building raised beds to grow our own veggies. I'm so excited! It's been amazing to see how much less we put in the trash when we aren't throwing away food scraps or diapers. Eventually we want to move from the city and have a small farm where we can do a LOT more as far as sustainablity.

Thanks for the invitation to share!

Elaine needs some answers to a couple of questions. Can anyone help? Elaine writes:

Hello. We live in town and are really mere beginners at this journey but this is what we are accomplishing so far. I enjoy cooking and baking from scratch--no box products for me (although I do seem to have a weakness for box cakes mixes-oh well!); growing tomatoes and peppers; canning same tomatoes and sauce, jam, peaches, pears, applesauce and freezing peppers; making own cleaning products; composting leaves and yard waste; keeping home a bit cooler in the winter months; working closer to home; packing own lunches.

I enjoy learning things from these blogs so much! I would love to learn from you girls how to make a good "green" carpet cleaner (not just a freshner but for a deeper cleaning); also some kind of "green" lawn weed controller--we don't use chemicals but I yearn for a lush lawn; lastly for those of you who refuse the plastic bags--I know you must have some trash--what do you put it in?

Have a wonderful day. I have enjoyed the blog so much as well as the comments.

Nicole is teaching her children about living simply as they grow. She writes:

Hi Rhonda Jean,

I do have a blog over at http://www.cottonwoodherbals.blogspot.com/ and will be writing a bit more on simplifying over the next week.Thank you so much for taking the time to post about your life. I get so many ideas to implement into my own home. I don't have any land to have a garden but we do have containers full of herbs we use. We put up tomatoes and apples we purchase from the local farmer's market.I'm teaching my children about recycling and making healthy choices. We always purchase organic when possible, turn the lights off, use less water and be ever mindful of not wasting anything.Each week we introduce something new to add on to what we are already doing. It may be making our own shampoo and conditioner, I already make our own laundry soap and herbal remedies. It may be using the back sides of paper for my 6 year old to draw on, it may be making our own bread (thanks to you)All the little steps we take add up. I teach my children it isn't All or nothing. For us, it is baby steps and hopefully I can share what we do with others.

Kym is reusing everything she can, she writes:

I am inspired by all the things that I have read here, I am fairly new to the idea of simple living but I think I have been doing some of it most of my life. The concept of a disposiable world has always bothered me So reusing everything possible is my mantra. I have recently started using homemade cleaners and laundry soap,wow not only supper cheap but no more plastic jugs in the recycle bin, they just keep getting refilled. It is interesting to read what others are doing and hopefully I will move into a greener life as I go along. Keep up the inspireation we really enjoy it.

Leanne is in New Zealand and, naturally, raising lambs. Check out her story at her blog here. She really is living the good life.

Kristi in the Western Reserve is living with her son in Ohio. She writes:

I am a 63 year old new widow who lives with my vegetarian grad student son on an acre and a half of land in Bath, Ohio. In a way, we were never wildly into consuming, but as I was older, and my husband ill, I began to do things like buy paper towels for convenience. I am just beginning to redesign my changed life. I'm not sure how long I will live here, certainly until Andy finishes his degree. I am trying to recycle and am giving away many things as we have much to much.........But we have lived here for 28 years and it will take a while to streamline things...But I am working on it. We have always believed people are more important than things and I want to be involved again in work with local refugees. I am debt free, I guess. (Well, I just had to buy a new car and it will be paid for in two years. I din't want to pay for it outright since I want to keep my money together. I could have, but got zero per cent financing. I wish it got a little better mileage, but it could be worse. We garden, Andy and I, but in Ohio one can only garden from about April to October.....We belong to a local CSA farm and I buy locally from a lady who raises chickens....I'm diabetic and try not to eat too many carbs, but eat a lot of tofu and am trying to increase this......So far I am not a vegetarian but can see I might end up closer to this. I do buy from and donate to thrift shops. People are more important than things was something Paul and I always tried to teach our children and I think we succeeded. My kids don't really watch tv, and I am being more selective (partly because there is so little that's any good and I don't want a cable package. We have a 99% efficient furnace and pretty good insulation.....I have a freezer and a pantry and stockpile stuff. I'm not a fanatic, (don't mean the term to make being green sound bad!) but find myself doing more and more greenly. My blog is not active yet. That may change this year......

lorisdoris is simplifying and teaching her children as she goes. Check out her story here, there are some really nice photos and a very interesting story.

Kimberly is living in suburbia and dreaming of a home in the country. She's made big inroads into living more simply by taking small steps. Here is her story.

Jeannie, yours sounds like the perfect life. What a wonderful place to live in. Jeannie writes:

I live on an acre section in a tiny coastal village of the West Coast, North Island, New Zealand. Living is easy here, proximity to the ocean provides abundant shellfish and fish, the river has whitebait and trout, the riverbanks give us blackberries and mushrooms, there are even wild plum trees in the village.

Like most I have a large vegetable garden,but am fortunate enough to also have an orchard, greenhouse with hydroponics, run a few chickens. Preseve most of our fruit and vegeatbles, make cordials, wines and whisky!Have been living the simple life for over thirty years, keen spinner, and weaver, and knit, sew and crochet some of our clothes.Our house is sited to make best use of the sun, and we have installed a woodburner for the colder days (wood is freely available along the riverbanks )

Our lifestyle is frugal by choice, we make our own cleaning products and reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible.

This is from earth heart. She and her husband are living in a similar way to Hanno and I. You will find her simple living post here.

And finally, Mrs Kaos, who is just about to celebrate her first anniversary, writes about carry on family traditions. You can read her blog here.

Thank you all so much for taking part in this wonderful excerise. I found it a real eye opener. It reaffirmed my belief that simple lives may be lived anywhere and that while all our lives are different, we share a lot of similarities. Please take the time to visit each of the blogs listed and leave a comment. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was to connect us all and help us feel that we are part of a caring community.

Nadine write about her life here.

Libby described her version of simple living here.

Niki at Rural Writings shares her simple farm life here.

And Amy writes about her simple sustainable choices here.


  1. Thank-you so much for taking the time to post all of this. I don't remember exactly how I found this blog but what a great fortune it was. I so look forward to reading here.

  2. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Wow! What a wonderful bunch of posts and people! Thank you for the listing - I will read through over the weekend as I have time.

    Since it's already Saturday where you are, my sweeties and I wanted to send a big hug. Did you know it's "Hug an Australian Day"? We found a list of fun things to study and celebrate - and this one includes you ;)

    Have a wonderful weekend! Love, Q

  3. What a brilliant line up. I will definitely be back to read some more posts. :) Thanks for the mention too. :)

  4. Thank you for your beautiful comments RJ :) I look forward to a few visitors!

  5. Hello Rhonda, well, if it's 'hug an australian' day, I can't think of anyone better to hug than you. This is a wonderful post, so much sharing, and so much simple living. Thank you too for making the effort to put it all together as a post. My weekend reading is sorted! Hugs, Diana

  6. What an awesome stories and links. Too bad I didn't have the time yesterday to write a comment, but there's more than enough to enjoy already. :-)
    Thanks for taking the time to do this, everybody (and especially you, Rhonda)!
    Christine from the NL

  7. I'm glad so many different people responded to your invitation. So often when I look at a 'green lifestyle' web page the proud owners have got an acre or two of land and plenty of storage space. There can sometimes be an element of smugness. The reality here in the UK is that the majority of folk live in small homes with limited storage facilities and tiny gardens (if any). Our growing season is maybe five months of the year. What I could grow in my larger than average garden would not keep one person fed healthily. Local bylaws prevent the raising of livestock.

    Supporting local farmers and small businesses is one way I try to live a greener life. Putting every potential purchase (apart from groceries) onto a thirty day 'wants list' makes me think hard before spending. I now buy only what I need. I am frugal with the car, which I cannot do without, as public transport in the UK outside cities is so unreliable. Petrol here is extremely expensive.

    We less land-rich frugal folk need to carry on doing we can and at the same time have a presence at meetings addressing the infrastructure of our towns, making sure they provide sufficient resources for those living there that they can go back to being real communities.


  8. Rhonda,

    I did enjoy reading all the various stories yesterday, so many people who realise that we could not go on living the way we had been and had opted for a simpler lifestyle......great.....

    I am going to be signing off, as we are taking a trip to France to see some friends for a couple of weeks, I will catch up with you all when we get back, and for those of you who read my blog I will post comments and pictures once we get back. Unfortunately we will not have an internet connection whilst we are away.....

  9. Hi Rhonda,
    I am still pretty computer illiterate and don't know how to link to you about my simple life story..posted it on my site yesterday...
    Have a great week-end!

  10. Thank you for posting all these stories (and to everyone who wrote them). It gives me something to look forward to once I've graduated school and can focus on really starting a family and making a home.

  11. I'm late with this I know - currently on holidays. I actually did a post back in January on what I simple living is to me.


    I'm enjoying reading everyones stories.


  12. Thank you for taking the time to put this together, and sharing your space with these other wonderful people.

    I look forward to reading the stories, as time permits.

  13. I have so enjoyed reading everyone's stories of their simple lives. I've long wanted to live a more simple life. I think that's one of the things that started my interest in the Amish and Mennonites (I live in an area with a large Mennonite population so I see them frequently). I remember seeing a picture in a magazine once of a Mennonite woman standing in her cold cellar with shelf upon shelf of canned produce with baskets of potatoes and apples, and I remember thinking that no matter what happened in her life, she'd always be able to feed her family. That was when I was a single parent with more month than money. The security in that photo left a lasting impression on me. Around the same time I dreamed of having a few acres in the country and being as self sufficient as I could be.

    Fast forward many years and I'm afraid I haven't made many steps towards that dream. I'm now remarried and it's just the two of us home, but DH is not interested in simple or green or sustainable living and has no interest in my desire to persue a more simple lifestyle. He's not interested in buying organic or locally grown food. But since he does most of the grocery shopping and cooking (he gets home almost an hour before I do) we eat what he buys and cooks.

    I asked him today about homemade cleaning supplies and his response was to ask if our once-a-month cleaning lady probably would use them.

    We don't live an extravegant life, we live within our means. We carry little debt and pay off our credit cards every month. We take cloth bags grocery shopping and I carry a small cloth bag folded up in my purse.

    I don't believe in buying the latest and best of everything. I've never really had much interest in keeping up with the Jones. Some of my clothes come from consignment or thrift shops, and most of our furniture is second hand, which suits me perfectly.

    We have a small vegetable area in our garden and I want to plant a garden this year. I've canned tomatoes, peaches and pickeled beets before, and I've made jam. I want to do that, and more, again this year. We are not allowed to have chickens in this township.

    I do what I can, but not as much as I'd like to, but it's difficult do to some of these things without support.

    Still, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading so many inspiring posts. Thanks everyone for sharing, and thanks Rhonda Jean for the effort you put into gathering and posting all these stories.

    And if it's "Hug an Australian Day", well my friend here's a big one for you!! {{{{{HUG}}}}}

  14. Hi Rhonda, although late I did put together a simple life post. I really enjoyed the posts, I think I read them all! Very inspiring, thank you for doing this.

  15. Hi Rhonda! What a great idea for a series of posts. Unfortunately I didn't have time to read all the stories, but it's so inspiring to read about other people living simply!

  16. Hi Rhonda Jean. I suppose it's too late to put in my story? If not, here it is http://sonshinecottage.blogspot.com/2008/04/simple-sustainable-choices.html

    Thanks for all the inspiration.


  17. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Thanks for doing this. It so much fun seeing all the different ways people live a simple life.I found a couple new blogs that I will enjoy reaing weekly.

  18. I am a former New Orleanian, now living in Austin, TX. I have always enjoyed simplicity in life and design. However, in 2005 my life changed in an instant when Hurricane Katrina flooded my home and left my granddaughter and I without anything but our vehicle, our dog and the clothes on our back. We spent a year with relatives in the southwest, then moved to Austin, TX where my son and his wife had relocated. I no longer had my teaching job of over 30 years, so I retired and took on some occasional work in my field. I had to start over with home furnishings and everything else used thrift stores and resale shops for most of it. I love thrifting. I also make baby quilts by hand with fabric I have been given. I live in a small apartment with a porch that looks out over a nature park with trails, a creek, wildflower meadow and wildlife. My city has wonderful pools for summer swimming and places to explore. I feel so fortunate to have my life of simplicity. I have a very rich life.


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