Kevin has been extremely good about posting here. I have not, but plan to remedy that. As you may have noticed, we are making a concerted effort to make things ourselves and rely less on the hyper-materialistic consumer machine. What we've found is that making things ourselves is not only cheaper, and more satisfying, but is also easier in many circumstances. With a well stocked pantry or refrigerator, we can start a new batch of yogurt or a new loaf of bread with much less effort than it would take to drive to the grocery store and buy one.
What we haven't spoke of is what caused this shift in our thinking-- from one of running with the pack mentality of consumerism to a life of voluntary simplicity and frugality. Living in Orange County, CA has definitely tinged my outlook on life in a variety of ways. We are surrounded by wealth, excess, narcissism, and selfishness every time we step out of our front door, and have chosen to create a world of our own that is decidedly dissimilar from the rest. We hope to one day live in a place that more closely echoes out ethos, but for now, we are making the best of it.
We would also be entirely remiss if we don't mention the book that really started it all for us: The Simple Living Guide, by Janet Luhrs. This book really taught us that every day you have a choice about how you want to live your life. Voluntary simplicity can take many forms for different people, but for us, as a young couple just starting out, it means that we will never aspire to the "keeping up with the Jones'" mentality that traps so many people in this country in debt and despair. We hope to give you all some good tips for doing the same.