So we have been with out cable or satellite since around January of 2010 now. And thanks to the gov't regulating everything under the sun now a days, we have been with even the basic channels since they imposed the Digital TV(you have to have a really good outside antenna to get the basic channels which is a couple hundred bucks).
We cut our TV as a sacrifice to save money for the adoption of our Princess. It was really hard at first. I felt like I was missing out on everything. So many great shows. HGTV and TLC were among my faves. Oh and the Food Network.
Bubba was 9 when we broke the news to the kids that we wouldn't have TV anymore. I remember him asking from the back seat of the van in a faltering voice, "Are we becoming Amish, mom??" lol
But we quickly realized life seemed much more productive without TV and who cared if Bonnie Sue got kicked out of her tribe anyway. We realized how many COUNTLESS hours we spent glued to the TV. How irritable we'd get with the kids for interrupting or being too loud while we tried to watch our *important* show.
Now I will admit, we were/are able to watch a couple of our shows via hulu like the Biggest Loser.
And now I can't fathom giving all that money to the cable companies. There are so many other things that our hard earned dough could go for. You also won't find any droids or whatever else is the latest technology in this house either and for the same reasons. Remember my last post? Need vs Want
People always feel bad for us that we don't have TV but there has only been one time in the past 2 1/2 years that I have missed it and that was for this past Olympics. I love the Olympics. But we just imposed ourselves on others and stayed to midnight at their place watching the coverage for the 1st week of the games. Thank you mom, SIL and BIL!
I am so busy that I don't know how I ever found time to watch TV. I spend more time with the kids now and to be honest they don't seem so annoying bothersome because my focus is on them not the boob tube.
*Pondering where that term ever came from...*
So what do we do with out TV to watch? Well, foremost I read to all of them at night(sometimes during the day too if they beg me enough or if it's a really good book). We have gone through about 20 books since we started a year ago. We have finished the Harry Potter series, Narnia books, The Adventures of Huck and Tom, and many more.
We enjoy reading by candle light and having hot cocoa, even in the summer. It has been the best tradition. It really started when the kids decided to see what it would be like to give up electricity for a week( inspired by our visit to Conner Prairie).
Here are some other things my kids do with out any TV to zone out to:
Bubba made a bug habitat
He cut a water bottle in half so he could pour water in more easily and used the lid to add insects
They made a table out of misc. stuff in the garage. Those legs are pieces of cardboard.
We get invites often to special shows. They had a bunch of performances planned out and there was even a raffle. There raffle tumbler was awesome but I didn't get a pic of it unfortunately.
Sissy cut these out of cardboard and painted them to hang up in her room.
Painted pots from Sissy and Snuggle Bug for me.
Tin Can Stiltz. This was a planned project I helped them with.
They had a kind of course for their bikes. This was their homemade stop sign.
The kids also have made a homey place in one of our trees complete with some creative features, they have made a business up in their room to help people(The Hubby and I) with whatever needs done. The even have forms we have to fill out and sign and have little desk ares set up and everything. They have had 2 different meeting places for a club they started. Oh my fave was our family newsletter. Sissy was the editor and would post a new edition of happenings and things to come on our mantel. It was really funny.
It had interviews with people too.
All of this is at their prompting, totally self motivated(beside the stiltz). When you shut off the TV something happens I discovered:
They have to use their brains.
Now at first there was a lot of "I'm bored!" kind of stuff but I squashed that real fast. I told them there was too much to do in this house to be bored. If they say it then I have lots of jobs to keep them busy. (I also use this tactic for fighting because if they have that much energy they can put it to good use)
Amazing how they were never bored again (;
Now they can watch movies and we do have a wii. But I am one of those awful parents who limits the use of electronics altogether( that includes their DS, or in Snuggle Bug's case an Explorer, and also playing on the computer). Our rule is you can only use electronics after 4pm on the weekdays and only for an hour total. And sometimes I just say no electronics at all for the day, except what we will use for school.
At this point I never see myself wanting to go back to having cable/satellite( though the Hubby wouldn't mind it truth be known). I keep up on what's happening in the world via the internet. And even at that I can spend way too much time on here. Though it is usually to do work for homeschool or our scout group.
So I hope this inspires you to go unplugged for a week or two. See what happens.
Have you ever wanted to just run away from everything and pack up your family and move to an serene, quiet place? Have you ever yearned for a less hectic life? A simpler life? I have for quite some time and still do.
Over the past couple years I have had a longing for less, but in turn less would mean more. I am so sick of being dependent on the ever rising costs of oil and food costs and so on and so forth. And after traveling to the Philippines to bring our daughter home, I realized how much we really have, how much excess. Especially after just watching an episode of that show were chefs are hired by people in Beverly Hills. Yeah that one where they had to make a four course meal for dogs and then there was the botox party. The only part that got me through the episode was seeing how the chefs thought these things were absolutely absurd also.
But I digress. The point is we can really get by with so much less but us Americans have become so entitled that we can't separate need from want. It has really become a pet peeve of mine.
We just returned from a vacation in Florida where we stayed in a smaller 2 bedroom home, probably around 1000 sq feet or so and we loved it. Even though our house is bigger here at home, I somehow felt more overwhelmed by it when I returned. My 3000 sq foot home seemed smaller to me than the 1000 sq foot home-how can that be I asked myself?
Things. Things is the answer. STUFF. Things are suppose to make our lives easier but often it seems they just complicate our lives. The answer is to strip down. Not our clothes, but in the bare minimum sort of way. Strip. It. Down.
There is sooooo much crap and stuff in this house. I felt a strong need just to chuck everything when I got home and I did some stuff then I got bogged down by all the STUFF everywhere I looked and was paralyzed by it all. And not necessarily junk, just lots of stuff, ya know?
And STUFF and THINGS moves our focus away from what is really important in life- each other, our family, God.
Maybe what we need is not a bigger house to fill with more stuff ( and more rooms to clean and more hours to work so we can afford said house), but a smaller house. That thought has just blown my mind. It is so opposite of the American way of thinking.
I still think we need more bedrooms, but maybe not a ginormous living space. Our family is one that is always in the same area anyhow. We are not a family where everyone is in a different room watching TV, of course we don't even have TV( well cable or satellite I mean). We just like to be together. Most days.
The Hubby said to me the other night that we need some time together and how since we got home from vacation he just feels off. I could not have agreed more. I said I think we need to pack up, find a spot out in the country with a little cabin and move. We could have a big garden, grow our own food, live more independently(Wow I feel like a hippy. Minus the drugs. And the sex.)
Hubby was all for it(not the minus sex part,just the more independent living part), but likely more just in spirit
( he's not a very outdoors kind of guy). As in, "Oh that would be nice, but just in my head, not for real real."
I, on the other hand, am about 90% serious.
I long for a simpler life. I swear I could even do with out electricity, even though I would miss my fridge and microwave. My hair would look like crap with out my blow dryer too, but I could manage. It would be really hard to live with out the internet too, but I suppose I did it for the 1st half of my life, I could likely do it again.
I would even be ok going totally old school with having a fireplace in the kitchen to cook with. I do well cooking over the fire.
Yeah that's right. I am talking little house on the prairie here people.
It use to be more about big gov't as to why I wanted to live more independently, but now it's about simplicity and what really matters. Instead of the more, more, more, mentality try thinking less, less, less.
This all might surprise those that know me. I may seem a bit high maintenance as I try to always have my make-up on and hair looking decent etc. But I love the outdoors and nature. I always feel closest to God in the woods or gazing at a meadow. I see God's hand everywhere in the beauty and intricate work of nature.
The meadows are clothed with flocks, the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy and sing together.
And think if we actually did down size-no scraping by each month and stressing out. 1/2 of our monthly income now goes to our house payment. You know as well as I do that stressing about money leads to a very unhappy home for everyone. It's why most people get divorced.
So I encourage you too really evaluate what you truly NEED in life. What are the things that you could strip away to help simplify your life?
I leave you with these words of wisdom:
Remember, less crap, not more crap.
When you see that quote on a shirt someday, remember-it all started here people.