Our Five Ring Circus: Balance and Simplicity

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Balance and Simplicity

I'm not one to make resolutions.  Honestly, I feel like they're just begging to be broken.

Instead, I decided to jump on the word of the year bandwagon.  But the only problem was I couldn't decide on just one word.  Balance AND simplicity kept going through my head.  So I chose two. What can I say?  I'm a rebel!

Finding balance has always been a struggle for me. I often feel overwhelmed. Raising four kids (including one with special needs), running a household, making time for my husband (and family and friends), blogging, and all my other commitments have me booked solid.  I end up sacrificing sleep just to get things done (even though my kids sleep great), skipping my workouts because other things have higher priority, and I'm just not making any time for myself. 

I'm not unhappy at all! Quite the opposite! I'm realistic and I know this is just a phase in my life.  I know my kids are going to grow up in the blink of an eye.  I know that one day, much sooner than I think, I'm going to be sleeping and I'm going to have more time and I'm going to be wishing it all back.

That being said, I NEED to find the right balance between everything.  It may take all year, but I'm determined to make my life run smoother!

Which leads to simplicity...

My goal is to simplify all aspects of my life. There's just SO much of everything and it doesn't need to be that way.  The simpler things are, the easier life will run.  Organization and time management are going to be my focus!

How to achieve balance and simplicity in life


Make our home more functional. 

Our family of 6 is busting out of our modest 3-bedroom home.  And we have WAY too much stuff.  Decluttering our home is on the agenda. I already began going through our house and donating items that we don't use or don't need.  I plan to do this drawer by drawer, closet by closet, room by room throughout the year! Also on the list is to finally finish the renovations that were started last year and create a living space that perfectly suits my family's needs.

Stop procrastinating.

Ahhh. Procrastination. My friend/enemy. So many times I think, "Oh, I'll just send that email later when I get a chance." Then it's 1 AM and I realize that I never sent that email and I have to scramble to get it done! SO...I took a Just Do It Now approach at the beginning of the year and it's working well. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'm improving!

Organize paperwork.

Last year I organized all of our paperwork.  I had accordion files for everything. School, medical, bills, personal, etc. I filed away paperwork as soon as it came in.  Then over the holidays, my method escaped me.  I now have piles of paperwork stashed inside my ottoman.  As soon as I open that lid to find something, I feel stressed and overwhelmed.  I started sorting through all those papers yesterday, and filing them away. Once I'm completely done, I plan on filing away paperwork every evening.

Maintain a calendar.

I do really well with writing all our events and commitments on my paper calendar, but the smaller things often get forgotten.  (Book order due today?  Oops!) I finally ordered an Erin Condren life planner, and as soon as it arrives, I plan on writing every single thing in it!

Find balance in blogging.

Blogging is my hobby.  I love to write. I love to share my family, my ideas, and my lifestyle.  I love to connect with others.  I love to share products and companies that I believe in.  It has also become a source of income, too. With that comes more responsibility. When I team up with a company, I work HARD for them. My kids know exactly when I'm trying to work, and suddenly have a million demands. I need to make time during my day for blogging and treat it like a part time job. I will continue to only choose sponsorship opportunities that fit my family and lifestyle. I'm not going to put my name behind every company that approaches me. I'm not going to force myself to blog every single day. If I don't want to write, I'm not going to. I want blogging to continue to be fun, and forced blogging is not enjoyable! Above all, I will never stop sharing my family.  THAT'S why I started this blog in the first place. 

Capture the little moments.

My other hobby is photography.  I have thousands of posed pictures of my kids. I love those pictures, but my photography goal for 2016 was to capture the little moments, too.  THIS post had the most views this month, and it was full of all those candid moments that took my breath away! It's also challenging me to expand my photography, which makes me happy!

Read more often.

Once upon a time, I was able to read a book every day.  I'm not even kidding.  Then I had 4 kids.  If reading kids lit every day counts toward this goal, I'd be rocking it!  But I want to get back to reading books for ME.  If I'm going to be completely honest, I tried the read before bed route, but I'm usually so exhausted that my eyes shut within two pages. Yesterday I tossed a book into a storage basket in my bathroom.  If I can fit in one chapter a day while I potty train my 2 year old or supervise bath time antics, then that's the way it's going to be.  And that's exactly what I did.

Focus on just ONE thing and complete it before moving on.

This one is so hard for me! Practically impossible.  My mind seems to go in a million directions at once. In the evening, I can often be found cooking dinner, helping 3 kids with homework, wrangling a toddler, packing lunches, and doing dishes.  AT THE SAME TIME. I end up getting completely overwhelmed. I just think...MULTITASK! DO ALL THE THINGS!  I really need to complete one task before moving on to the next.

Time management. 

My To Do list is long and impossible to complete.  I'm always rushing out the door or rushing to complete a task.  I need to come up with a reasonable schedule for each day and STICK to it!

Make monthly date nights a priority.

This one is for my husband.  And for me.  We're a team and we need to make time for each other. To put it bluntly, we need to escape from our kids every so often.  We always plan on once a month and it only ends up happening a few times a year.  This year, we're going to make our marriage a priority.

Make time for the things that often get pushed aside.  

Girls Night Out (monthly) = Important for my well being. Visits with my horse = Not many years left with the first thing that stole my heart. Exercise = Important, but it's the first thing to go when I don't have enough time. (Thank goodness just chasing after my kids and a weekly walk caused me to lose 10 lbs over the past 6 months.)

Try one new recipe each week.

Confession:  I don't love to cook.  But family dinners 5 times a week are very important to our family, so I do it.  Part of my struggle is menu planning.  I DO plan a weekly menu, but it's the same things in rotation.  I have so many recipes pinned on Pinterest.  My cooking goal in 2016 is to try one new recipe a week.  We already tried this creamy potato soup and I made this delicious crockpot ravioli!

Don't be afraid to say no. 

I say yes to EVERYTHING. I'm kind and compassionate, and it pains me to say no. But I need to start saying no. For myself and for my family. I have enough commitments.

Be patient.

Staying patient is a struggle for any parent.  In those instances when all 4 kids test my patience at the same time, I feel like I'm going to explode.  I need to focus on taking a deep breath and meeting needs one child at a time.

Be present.

Push everything aside. Put down the phone.  Focus on them.  Childhood is fleeting.  Our time together is limited. My kids are going to remember the moments I spend with them.  I want my kids to have happy memories of all the time we spent together! I absolutely do not want them to look back and remember me staring at my phone all the time!

Stop worrying.

Am I doing enough?  Did we read enough?  Did they play outside long enough?  Did they have too much screen time today? Are we doing enough learning at home? Are we doing enough therapy?  Are we doing TOO much therapy?  What if they _______?  What if this happens?  Those are just a few of the questions that go through my head every day.  It's so easy to doubt ourselves as parents.  But sometimes we just need to let go and stop stressing so much about their future.  It's the NOW that matters! I'm almost certain that most of us ARE doing enough.


This one is easy. ENJOY. Life is a big jumble of emotions and series of events, and it can often be incredibly overwhelming. I want to focus on enjoying the moment, living life, and celebrating all the gifts I was given.

Above all, be reasonable.  

I'm not going to reach all my goals.  There are going to be hurdles to overcome.  Things aren't always going to work out the way I planned.  And that's okay.  100% okay.  Because that's life!

Do you make resolutions or choose a word to live by throughout the year?  What are some of your goals? 



  1. I feel like I could have written this post myself. I have so many of the same goals this year. I started decluttering over the holidays and have already noticed a big difference. I was amazed with the amount of stuff I donated and still have so many rooms to go! I know you'll hit the ground running and be very successful meeting your goals this year!

    1. It sounds like we're on the same page! Best of luck with all your decluttering. I'm sure I will get rid of a lot!!!

  2. This is perfection, Stefanie! My word is "less" - less clutter, less junk, less shopping for things we don't need, less time on social media, less doing things I don't want to do, etc. - so I can have more time doing the things that I love. All of your points above are perfect for me to follow to help achieve my goals for the year. Great post!

    1. That's a great word to live by and a great rule of thumb when it comes to all aspects of life!

  3. I couldn't agree more on resolutions they feel like a jinx! Love your word and your goals, so much good stuff there. 2016 is going to be awesome.

  4. Great Goals!! I go through a lot of these same issues so it helps to see someone else writing them down. I am blessed that my parents take our kids 1 night a week so that we can have a date night! I'm sure as they get older it will not be as often with school, etc... I am soaking it up now!!

  5. Great goals!! I can't wait to see how you do them throughout the year.

  6. This is great! I did a post on this today. I love doing goals more than a resolution it seems more realistic


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