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After being on haitus for nearly a year, Simple Times is back … and better than ever!  Now in an easy-to-read online magazine format with more great content and weekly updates.

Get the latest news from all around the web on saving money, living simply, homemaking, parenting, education, cooking, and more!

To see an issue of Simple Times, click HERE

You’ll find a subscription form on the page … be sure to enter your email address so you won’t miss any future issues!

The Simple Times Newsletter is dedicated to the pursuit of simple living.  The purpose of Simple Times is to provide inspiration, encouragement, motivation and practical help for those who (for whatever reasons) are choosing to simplify their lives.

This free publication — which began in 1995 — will appeal to people from a wide array of backgrounds and lifestyles: working parents, single folks, stay-at-home moms (and dads, too!), homeschooling families, voluntary simplicity adherents, “involuntary” simplicity (due to corporate lay-offs, stagnant wages, etc.), or anyone else who would like their life to be less busy, less cluttered, less complicated, or less expensive.

Whether your personal definition of simple living focuses on saving money for your regular family expenses (food, clothing, utilities, etc.); saving time and energy through easier housekeeping and cooking techniques; or moving to the country to homestead your own little piece of heaven, Simple Times should prove to be fun and helpful.

Regular topics will include:

  • Frugality
  • Simplified housekeeping
  • Decluttering tips
  • Enriching (and inexpensive!) educational ideas for children
  • Using leftovers
  • Freezer meals (recipes, tips, questions and answers)
  • Inexpensive, creative and simple recipes
  • Food prep and storage
  • Shopping tips
  • Craft projects (for kids and adults)
  • Interviews
  • Recommended resources
  • Book reviews
  • and lots more!

To sign up, just visit the Simple Times page and enter your preferred email address into the subscription box.  Easy peasy!

I have a new blog!

I’m avoiding homework today. No particular reason. Just trying to clear my head a bit, I guess.

Anyway, what do I do for fun? Well, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know the answer to that question:  I make blogs.

To keep a long story fairly short, I’ve decided to start a completely new blog which has no particular point other than to share current life events and other random things that have no place else to go: Photos, flash fiction, poetry, rants. Whatever.

So, to all of you — my long-time faithful followers and any newbies — please feel free join me on my newest blogging adventure!  I honestly have no idea where this journey may take us.  That’s why it’s an adventure.

Debi’s New Random Blog

You can subscribe to email updates to the new blog, too, so you’ll always stay up-to-date.  Really hope to see you there!

I’ve realized lately that this personal blog (where you are now) has become seriously out-of-date and not really reflective of where I’m at now or the types of things I’m doing.  I actually debated about just deleting it, but it’s a photograph of what was happening and who I was at the time.  Even though it no longer reflects the current status of my life, it is definitely a glimpse into a huge part of the journey that brought me to where I am now.

I may just tie a ribbon around this blog and leave it sitting here in the blogosphere for whoever may find it.

People still stumble upon this blog regularly and I continue to hear from many who find it helpful.  So, as long as this blog has the potential to be encouraging to someone, I will keep it.  I just thought I should let you all know that I probably won’t be updating Life: The Journey.

Hope to see you at the new blog!  Be sure to say, “Hi,” if you stop by.

~Debi

Just for fun … :-)

Phyllis Down the Drain
by Debi Taylor-Hough

When Rob’s mother died, I had mixed feelings.  Phyllis and I had a flimsy, at best, relationship.  The only thing we shared in common was our love for Rob.  My love for him was the romantic and strong love of a spouse for a partner in both life and parenting.  Phyllis loved the man we shared fiercely, possessively, proudly—as only the mother of an only son can really love.  Now, all that was left of Phyllis and her love was hidden away in the blue and white ceramic urn on our mantle, awaiting inurnment at Hebron Cemetery next month.  Suddenly my teenage daughter’s voice broke into my quiet reflections about different types of love and the ceramic death decoration now on display in my living room.

“Hey, Mom!  The cat just sprayed Grandma’s urn!”

What?  I ran into the living room in time to see our orange tabby, Mister, jump down from the mantle and slink guiltily into the kitchen.  Sure enough, the telltale odor of a male cat marking his territory was coming from Grandma’s direction.

“Stupid cat.”  I headed after Mister to grab a rag.  “You never did like Phyllis very much, did you, Mister?  Why you decide to claim her as your personal property now that she’s in a jar … geez.” Mister sulked under the table, looking like he expected me to scold him further or toss him outside.  “Oh, whatever.  Just sit there and feel guilty, you stinky fur-bucket.”

The rag proved ineffective.  The cat stench was overpowering, so I carried Phyllis and her urn-home into the kitchen to rinse off in the sink.  Warm water and a sink full of suds always makes me feel chatty.  So I decided to have a final chat with my mother-in-law.

“Well, Phyllis, here we are, again.  You in your prim-and-proper ceramic urn and me in my sweatpants and t-shirt.  You never particularly liked that stupid cat, did you?  For that matter, you never liked me much, either.  I was just Rob’s wife.  The woman who bore his children.  The continual disappointment.  The never-good-enough housekeeper.  But here I am, cleaning your urn.  You probably thought I’d just let you sit in cat pee.  Maybe I should.  But I love Rob so I’ll clean you.  And despite our problems, I guess I loved you, too.”

I had to chuckle at the thought of Phyllis watching me carefully rinsing off her urn.   She would’ve been standing with hands on hips, telling me which was the correct temperature water to use, which detergent would be gentle yet effective on the now-defiled urn, and “By all means, Dear, be careful not to jostle the lid because it might come loose and then …”

“Holy crap!”  The lid came loose and Phyllis’ ashes dumped out in the sink.

“Mom, are you okay?  What’s going on?”  My daughter ran into the room breathlessly, and stood, mouth agape, taking in the scene — her wild-eyed mother standing over an open urn with what looked like ashes in the sink. Ashes?  “Oh, Mom.  Geez.  Seriously?  You dumped out Grandma?”

“Oh, hush!”  I was so panicked, I wasn’t even sure where to begin.  I muttered, “Crap!” more than once and turned off the water.  Stop and think.  The sink’s full of ashes.  Ashes!  I’ll need to scoop it up.  Wait.  Some of it’s gone.  Gone?  Where’d it go?  Oh, crap.  Phyllis went down the drain!  This isn’t just regular old sink debris.  This is Phyllis!  This is Rob’s mother!

I ran to the toolbox, grabbed a wrench, and hoped the ashes hadn’t gone any further than the elbow trap under the sink.

I have an interview about studying Shakespeare with children on the Home School Heartbeat radio show this week (and it’s also on their website if you don’t receive their radio show in your area).

You can listen to the program or read the transcripts here:  http://www.hslda.org/docs/hshb/121/hshbwk1.asp

If anyone’s interested, you can view my blog posts about studying Shakespeare here:

Flash Fiction: Until Death

My daughter, Kelsey’s, latest foray into fiction:

Flash Fiction: Until Death.

 

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