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The Slow Family Project

One family's journey to slow down.

Last night I found myself on the Ministry of Education (here in Canada) website looking at the Curriculum for my daughter from Kindergarten to Grade 9. It has me thinking. Really thinking. Thinking about the types of things she will learn. Thinking about the classroom setting in which she will learn some of these values, life lessons.

Alright, I will come out and say it. I’m a bit afraid.

Most of the curriculum seems to make sense. Basic life lessons, how to act appropriately, basic letter and number skills – the foundation. And that is not what is concerning me.

What concerns me is that they have a whole section dedicated to “Career Development” and it is described as such in the Table of Contents itself!

So I was curious to read into the other Grades curriculum. Honestly, I was shocked to find that every single Grade has this integrated into the plan in some way. By Grade 5, the students are measured based on their determination of what they want to do when they grow up! And their “success” being “measured” on their ability to set solid “goals” and “achieve” these goals. Sorry, but Grade 5? Are you kidding me? Obviously not.

Sorry, forgive me here, but what happened to Childhood? Why are we putting this on our children so young, to think about “Career”. I didn’t even know what the word “Career” meant until I was at least in Grade 10. And even then, I had no idea! I still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up! (Kind of) (LOL)

This achievement, success by goal setting/attaining goals culture is frightening me.I’m sure there has got to be a way to balance this. May be I home-school for a period of time, while integrating her into other programs to get out and socialize and play? May be we just let go of this concern?

Do you home-school? How do you integrate the children into the school system at a certain age? Is this possible?


Happy Monday morning to you all. Hope that your weekend was relaxing and you feel rejuvenated!

We had a lovely dinner with family yesterday evening. My sister-in-law cooks the best Indian food you’ve ever tasted. Joining us were another couple, friends of the family (long story the relations). We were filling them in on our pending move and down size and it sparked them to share with us their hopes to do the same thing! Wow, and I thought we were probably going to be an anomaly, trying to justify everything – why we were giving up our salaries, the stuff, the house. But they are completely planning to do the same thing. It was so enlightening. But it was also interesting because they are where we were at a couple of years ago, still in the state of fear. Fear of giving up, well, let’s just be frank here, Income.

So how do you balance this? I don’t know yet. But what I do know is that it does take a lot of planning to down size – especially when you’ve been living beyond your means normally. Trimming the fat is especially hard. We have all become accustomed to living with more than we need; it just makes it harder when you make a conscious decision to get off of a treadmill.

So how do you afford to live a simpler life if this means you feel to do this you must leave work, the salary and the career status? Well, I suppose it’s not so much about how do I plan to do this, it’s more about how could I afford NOT to do this? And that is just it.

I suppose there are a couple of lessons I can share that I have learned that have helped me get here.

A simple, easy to read and use spreadsheet

For many years, I’ve used a very basic spreadsheet to track bi-weekly expenses. I can forecast for months in advance. It’s strange – I guess this just came second nature to me because of the nature of what I do. But its been enlightening to find out that most people do not cash flow or predict more than a month or two at a time.

This helps you with peace of mind, especially when you are planning a way out. If you have a reasonable prediction of incoming and for a reasonable amount of time into the future, you are able to predict everything.

I don’t have a template I can direct you to, but if you are interested and running Excel, I can send you the one I use.

Pre-paid my bills

The thought of dumping money onto my electricity bill in excess makes me cringe. But at least for one year, I don’t have that bill.

Savings for a year: Priceless

Yes, this may be temporary (one year or so) but at least it will help me transition and by that time, we will have had time to reduce and therefore, prepare for being able to pay monthly bills normally again.

Canceled subscriptions that aren’t aligned with our new life

The day I cancelled cable, I honestly felt a weight lifted.

Savings for a year: $1200.00

We don’t need this in our life anyway.

Delt with the Cell Phones

Called both our cell phone suppliers and down-graded our plans and helped get everything back into check. I discovered they had added a whole crap load of features we never authorized and the list goes on. Basically, they are scammers.

Savings for a year: $1200.00

Meal Planning

We’ve been doing this for a while, but have slipped out recently. It was much easier to do when I was on Maternity Leave and since I will have this time, I will be able to do this more. A great site is Wovenfare. Two SAHM who have done an awesome job. The shopping list is organized by dept. – it’s amazing.

Savings for a year (prediction): $10-15,000

Consciously not over committing

I specifically told the bank NOT to qualify us for more than a certain amount when we go to shop for a new home in the new city. So we might have a smaller place, but it will be smaller to take care of (less time vacuuming and more time for my family) and less out the door every month allowing us to put our income into other places that will benefit in the longer term. I have determined that a good portion of Mortgage Brokers are crooks. Over qualifying (even lying sometimes about income!! Can you believe it) just to make their commission check. Disaster.


So there we go. A few little experiences of mine along the journey to live a simpler life. Stepping stones, I suppose. I’m sure there will be many more along the way as I re-jig the budget month to month to allow for this transition.

How do you trim the fat?

A few very relatable posts from one of my newest favorites…okay one more!

A little word about Community.

We had the neighbourhood over last night and I nearly cried when I did my last cheers to the folks we’ve grown to love over the last 4 years living on this street.

I just have to say what Joy you can find in connecting with others by opening up your door, and heart, to those around you. When you slow down and take a deep breath, stop to even just say hello – instead of rushing to and from your garage, in and out of your car, taking time only in passing – how beautiful it is.

So far we’ve had a very slow day…spent the morning together in bed until the late morning and listened to Raffi while dancing naked on the porch (well not all of us 🙂 and we aren’t hippies, I don’t think).

We decided a couple of days ago on a whim, that we’d invite a few neighbours up for Happy Hour, so while the little one was sleeping today, I popped down to the local store to stock up on beers, wine and coolers, along with some simple goodies like chips and dip.

There is something about connecting with those around you. Community is so important. Building community is important, moreover.

Mr. Sun, keep shining down on us today as we enjoy the company of our surroundings…

Happy weekend!

Greetings! I hope I have some new followers and I am reaching you on a wonderful Friday afternoon in most parts of the world! At least, it is Friday in my zone. Hooray! So I wanted to use this opportunity to kick-off what I will be doing every other week, “The Weekend Slow-Plan”!

What has happened to the “Weekend” as we knew it?

I found this little beautiful comic online and I think it speaks to us in terms of our weekends in the fast lane: Mostly filled with tasks, time-lines, goals, errands, work that we never completed the week before, scheduled meetings with others…the list goes on and on! Enough already! Why was there Saturday and Sunday in the first place? Let’s not forget.

This weeks recipe for a Slow Weekend

This weekend, here are 3 rules to live by (more next week!)

1) Sleep-in. Or if this is practically impossible because you have kids that wake before the sun comes up (99% of us), then change your mindset around the wake-up routine for just these two days. How about incorporating elements of the regular routine with new discoveries (if with young children). Like allowing them to eat breakfast in bed (with you or without you) so you can squeeze in that extra “connected” time with extra cuddles and stay warm under the blanket together.

2) Plan all your weekly prep for a dedicated time slot and allow yourself. Allow just two hours to get it all done.

3) Plan to somehow have a nap. Allow yourself. May be Mom does this this weekend, while Dad covers, and Dad does gets his turn next weekend, while Mom covers.

What tips can you share about planning a less stressful weekly prep routine on the weekend?

Yesterday, I quit my job.

Before you go on thinking, what the? Why? How? I should explain how we got to this day.

A little over a year ago, around the time we couldn’t turn on the heat – when the markets crashed and we were left shifting life as we knew it, we decided right then and there that we needed to make some significant, life changing decisions over the course of about a years time. 1) Sell off the additional assets. We owned another property which we were renting and found this to be one of hugest stressors in our life. We sold it rock bottom. Off-loaded it. 2) Decide on the kind of community and city we wanted to live in that would support us, our family and our desired lifestyle. 3) Start working towards that vision in: Setting up contacts for employment, preparing our home for sale and trying to save and plan financially to make the transition.

Since the condo sold last December, our next task was to finish the renovations on our home so we could sell. In the meantime, my husband was able to stay connected with potential employers in the area we decided we wanted to live in and about 6 months later, here we are.

It hasn’t been instantaneous as you can see. This has been a plan in the works for some time. But what I realize now is that this plan, this vision, is part of a larger movement for us, not only to shift the “stuff” – the “material” things we have control over, but to also to let go of these roadblocks to allow for a natural shift in mentality, and consequently, physical and emotional change.

I have been “employed” for the last 18 years of my life. Working, non stop, sometimes while completing my University Degree and supporting my husband. It is now finally my turn to make a complete 360* turn. I will eventually find other work, I know that. There is no getting around that we must somehow make ends meet. But at the very minimum, I have provided myself a window to discover who I am, what I want and ask the universe (I know that sounds a bit cheezy, but really) to provide me with whatever it is that fits with my vision to live a slower, more present, happy and leisurely life.

Here we go!

How did you, or how are you, planning your exit strategy? What challenges did you find in making huge changes to your financial position in pursuing a more relaxed lifestyle?