Showing posts with label Minimalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minimalism. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{47}: reflecting on another week


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."

On the Range
November 19 - 25, 2013


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.


This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 14 of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your second week, Mom?

Monday, November 25, 2013

{day 13}: give yourself 15 minutes


Day 13: Give yourself 15 minutes

This is the last official task of the second week, and then tomorrow we can review the whole experience together. It should be relatively easy if you made your self-care list yesterday. Fifteen minutes a day, one day for each activity, is not a lot of time.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

{day 12}: make a self-care list


Day 12: Identify ways to care for yourself

There are many I could have chosen, but on this day these are the five things I like to do at home to nourish, nurture, and relax:


1. Taking a long bath

A long HOT bath. Probably involving one of these delightful French smell-goods.


2. Journaling

You would think that after blogging every day I wouldn't have anything left to say, but you'd be wrong! I love to write down tidbits from my day, and when I remember to go to bed 15 minutes early so I can jot these notes, I never regret that time spent recording life's little moments.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

{day 11}: develop & stick with a budget


Author's note: Check out the start of my minimalist holiday series if you haven't yet so you can follow along with us! The authors of Minimalist Parenting are hosting a holiday email series that starts on November 25th, so you can sign up to read what they have to say too.

I am an impostor when it comes to the subject of budgeting. I struggle with maintaining a budget; what I am good at is making excuses for my purchases. But I try! There are others with great ideas for holiday budgeting, and I will share a few of those resources here today.

Friday, November 22, 2013

{day 10}: kids & mealtime, chowdah, review & giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 10 encouragement for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a review and giveaway of The Family Flavor: 125 Practical Recipes for the Simple and Delicious, and a recipe for creamy chicken soup from the book. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thursday, November 21, 2013

{day 9}: meal planning, sprouts, giveaway


Author's note: This post includes the Day 9 instructions for those following the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays series, as well as a recipe for Firecracker Sprouts, and a review and giveaway of a Craftsy cooking class. Enter the giveaway below and then scroll to the bottom to find out what it's about.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

{day 8}: declutter email


Day 8: Declutter email

It’s not only impossible to respond to every query, it’s perfectly okay to not respond to everything, particularly when lack of response is due to lack of interest. – MINIMALIST PARENTING, Chapter 5

Minimalist Parenting camp described a three-touch rule for email. The first pass is for deleting messages that aren't addressed to you and responding to time-sensitive matters. The second pass is for emails that require more time. The third pass is for the messages that bug or don't interest you. If you haven't responded yet after seeing it three times, you won't! Get rid of it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{46}: reflecting on the week

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013."
No lie, this is one of the best pics from our holiday photo shoot. Why is it so hard to get them both to look and smile?

On the Range
November 12 - 18, 2013


{On the Range} is my weekly series where I discuss what we're doing, reading, and eating. It's a little bit 52 project and other photo projects, and a little bit {Did you Read?} and {In the Ranger Kitchen}.

This is a double duty post to give you our weekly update and check on on Day 7 of the first week of pre-holiday boot camp. How was your week? Be honest, you did only half or less of the things, right? That's okay. Being that each will only take you 15 minutes, these items can really be combined into a few days, so don't be discouraged. #LeanIn and soldier on! And if you haven't started yet, you can do it any time. There's no rush.

Monday, November 18, 2013

{day 6}: donate a bag of stuff


Day 6: Donate a bag of stuff

Author's Note: If you haven't yet, read more details about the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays. You can also read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4, and Day 5 posts.

This task should be easy. If you've finished yesterday's task, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale (at a church, elementary school, or library), utilize one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation), or drop the items of at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army donation center.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

{day 5}: declutter


Day 5: Declutter for 15 minutes

Author's Note: If you haven't yet, read more details about the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays. You can also read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 posts.

If you're anything like our family, you're about to get a huge influx of new toys, decorations, and general stuff this Christmas. You can get ready by decluttering the current supply of stuff. Go to a clutter spot in your house, and with a trash bag, spend 15 minutes decluttering. Pick up everything that you are thinking even might be something you'd get rid of, then once it's out of the room, you can examine the items in more detail. Donate or throw away toys that don't get played with, are missing parts, or are broken and awaiting fixing.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

{day 4}: delegate


Day 4: Delegate

Welcome to Day Four. It's time to delegate! You can read what we've accomplished so far in the Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 posts. In the Day 4 description of the 12 Days of Minimalist Holidays, I mentioned you could identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them.



There are many more household tasks to delegate during the holidays. But if you are like me, you have some letting go to do before others can assist in holiday project completion. I learned a bit of this lesson yesterday after Charlie and I raked up all the leaves in the yard. Nate said he was disappointed because he actually likes doing yard work!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

{day 2}: hardest thing first


Day 2: Tackle Your Hardest Thing First

I agree with Minimalist Parenting's assertion that procrastinating brings us down and drains our energy. (n.b.: there is a fantastic chapter in Allie's new Hyperbole & a Half book about procrastination; if you haven't gotten your copy yet, get one! The colorful pictures make for a fantastic bedside reading experience. She was also on Fresh Air a few days ago, so give that a listen.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{pre-holiday bootcamp, day 1}: the more and less list


DAY 1: The More & Less List

If you haven't read it yet, see yesterday's post about this two-week pre-holiday minimalist parenting bootcamp. It's time to create our holiday road map. I'm taking 15 minutes to jot down my more and less list, and I'll refer back to the list over the holidays when events and opportunities pop up to see if they're in line with my plan. I got some of my ideas for the more/less list from this great list of 18 things we should be doing more of (thanks, Amanda!).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the 12 days of {minimalist parenting} Christmas

Following Minimalist Parenting's lead of rebooting the holidays, I am taking the notes I made during their two-week camp and turning their ideas into a list of activities you can do to prepare your home, mind, and family to take a minimalist approach to the holidays.

You can take as much or little time to do these activities, but they are designed to be done over two weeks. Each numbered task below represents one day for two weeks, and each item should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Although I titled the list "The 12 Days of Minimalist Christmas," you could insert any holiday. In fact, beginning tomorrow there are two weeks before Thanksgivukkah, so I suggest starting tomorrow with the DAY 1 activity! You can follow along on the blog, where I'll chart my own progress.



The 12 Days of {Minimalist Parenting} Holidays:


  1. More and Less List: As with every plan of action, draw a road map first. Write down what you want to do/see/create more and less of over the holidays. Like with my minimalist manifesto, I refer to my list often when something--an event, or overwhelm of stuff--threatens to steer me off course.
  2. Tackle your hardest thing first: Spend 15 minutes (use an egg-timer if you want) and do the most difficult thing on your holiday to-do list first. Procrastination drains your energy.
  3. Say Yes and No: This task goes back to what I wrote about last week, regarding saying no. Say yes to events that make you happy or excite you and say no to events that drain you.
  4. Delegate!: Identify holiday-related chores (untangling lights, taking down Halloween decorations, etc.) your kids can do and delegate them. 
  5. Declutter for 15 minutes: Go to a clutter spot in your house, and with a trash bag, spend 15 minutes decluttering by donating or throwing away toys that don't get played with, are missing parts, or are broken and awaiting fixing.
  6. Donate a bag of stuff: This task should be easy. If you've finished Day 5, then you already have a bag to donate! You can give to your local rummage sale or seek one of many charitable organizations that do curb-side pick-up (e.g. VVA or Epilepsy Foundation).
  7. Rest & reflect on Week #1: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Has anything raised or lowered in priority? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
  8. Declutter e-mail: Touch each email only three times. First pass is for deleting messages that aren't addressed to you and responding to time-sensitive matters. Second pass is for emails that require more time. Third pass is for the messages that bug or don't interest you. 
  9. Make a holiday menu plan: Figure out 3-5 dishes that can be made and frozen in advance. Good possibilities are mashed squash, cranberry sauce, pie fillings, pie dough, and stuffing. 
  10. Involve your kids in mealtime: Kids can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Ideas for how they can help are on the Family Dinner Project website
  11. Develop and stick with a budget: Celebrate the holidays within your means by considering and communicating how much you plan to spend on gifts, food, travel, and entertainment. 
  12. Identify five favorite ways to care for yourself: Make a self-care short list of what nourishes, nurtures, and relaxes you.
  13. Give yourself 15 minutes: Make time in your calendar today and once each week for these 15 minutes to devote to one of the five items on your self-care list.
  14. Rest & reflect on Week #2: Go back to the list you made on Day 1. Was the second week easier or more difficult? What will you plan to continue more permanently in your routine? Add or remove what is needed. Be mindful of how you feel and offer yourself and others your love, hope, forgiveness, and grace.
If you try any of these holiday rebooting tasks, consider leaving a comment here on the blog or over on the Lone Home Ranger Facebook page. I'd love to hear what works and what doesn't!

Author's note: I did not get paid anything to write about Minimalist Parenting, but I like the authors and think you'll enjoy some concepts from their book. This post is part of The Homestead Barn HopWorks for Me Wednesday, and LHITS DIY Friday.

{Minimalist Parenting} book review


minimalist parenting
Back in March, I participated in MinCamp, a free two-week lifestyle program run by Christine Koh and Asha Dornfest, authors of Minimalist Parenting and their great blogs to which I linked. Inspired by Red Shutters, I briefly considered writing my thoughts on the book and camp. Then life happened, and now it's seven months later. But, daily blogging is on, so let's do this.

Last week I mentioned one of the ideas I liked best in the book, that moms are curators of the stuff and activities of family life. I appreciated their real-life anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book. For example, some prudent wisdom I have taken to heart is that giving up your baby stuff doesn't necessarily mean you're taking a stand on future reproduction. Christine's idea to ask for used items at a baby shower is right up my alley, so I happily gave my cousin the bulk of our baby stuff cluttering up the basement.

Honestly, I didn't read Minimalist Parenting cover to cover, but that could be because I've been a student of minimalism for a while now and have read copious resources on this topic already. I borrowed it from the library, brought it to the gym with me for a few days and flipped through while on the bike. Much of what it says validates what I am already doing of what I've learned by chatting with girlfriends. Having said that, I do think it's a good and quick read, and it would make a great baby shower gift for a new parent.

While I might not have thought the book itself essential, the authors have made some valuable contributions to the field that I want to point out. First, they maintain a fabulous Facebook page that is continually updated with great articles on topics related to minimalist parenting.

Author's note: They are devoting a section of their Minimalist Parenting website to the holidays! They have some great ideas for rebooting the holidays to enjoy them more by doing less. In the next post, I shared my version of their camp, which is tailored toward the holidays.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

the motherhood curator


I was just making some cheesy popcorn tonight in preparation for tomorrow's choir rehearsal--it's my turn for mom snack duty. {It is an easy and delicious recipe; just follow my dad's basic popcorn recipe, then as you're drizzling butter, also sprinkle garlic salt and grated parmesan/romano cheese.} As I was stuffing the finished product into ten snack-sized baggies, I began pondering my week ahead.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Vivi's laissez-faire birthday party


The little dears have finally moved away from the age when a group photo involves children standing higgledy piggledy and wizz wuzz all over the place to the age when they put their arms around each other and smile. Or pout, as it may be, but look at the camera all the same.

If you know me only through the blog and not in person, it is possible I have not communicated to you the extent to which my elder child ADORES having a birthday. This little human schemes and hatches her party plans year-round. Some days she wants a Batman rainbow unicorn cake, and some days she wants to go to a water park (dear God why), but the universal components are friends and food. I like that she understands the important aspects of party-planning and doesn't get bogged down in details, which allows me lots of wiggle room.

For me, it is important that party-planning and execution be simple and relaxed. A core element of my personality is that I can't be bothered to fuss when entertaining guests. Adding a secondary layer to my character onion, I think all the focus on children's birthdays has become bananas, and I refuse to take part. The expense, the cheap plastic crap, the stress. What are we teaching our children? I won't go into details since it's a well-covered topic, but I will share my favorites of others who have covered it, e.g. UMN Birthdays without Pressure, a Boston Mamas article, and a Minimalist Parenting article.

Thus, about three weeks before Vivi's fifth birthday, I started running the potential itinerary by her, and darned if she didn't accept all my ideas graciously and even enthusiastically, bless her. I enjoyed sharing her party last year (see my original post and/or when it was featured on Apartment Therapy), so I thought I'd share the party details again this year.


Genevieve's laissez-faire fifth birthday party

The Planning

Going off our rule from years past, she was allowed to invite 5 friends, one per year of age (plus siblings. Poor Charlie had to endure a confusing moment when Vivi said "You don't count at my birthday, Charlie." Her pouty bottom lip will slay you). She has two best friends at school, so I cleared some possible dates with the moms ahead of time, figuring if they couldn't be there, it wouldn't be worth having a party at all. Really, this kid is a fiercely loyal friend.

The Activities

I knew from last year that 2 hours was a good amount of party time and that we only needed one or two scheduled activities. A few months ago, her grandparents gave her and C tie-dyed t-shirts from their island vacation, and she was enamored with the dye process as I explained it from my summer camp days, so I knew we had settled on a good activity with tie-dying shirts.

Tie-dying might be good for older kids, but for five-year-olds, it was mostly me & moms doing all the work. Meh.

Because we normally plan her party close to Cinco de Mayo (giving me a good excuse to serve my favorite snacks, salsa and guacamole), I mentioned to a friend we might get a piñata, and she told me about this great kind with ribbons the kids pull instead of beating it to death a la Steve Martin. Sold!


An activity we didn't do that I still love the idea of is to get an old big white sheet for a picnic, and then when everyone's done eating, give the kids fabric pens and let them draw on the sheet. What fun that would be!

The Food

On the morning of her party, I did a quick shopping trip to our local farm and Trader Joe's to get everything except the avocados and kiwis, which I purchased a few days ahead to give them time to ripen. The kiwis are part of another birthday tradition I started with her last year, which is to buy her exotic fruit. She gets to watch it ripen all week, which just adds another layer to birthday excitement.

I got veggies and strawberries at the farm (a rare time for us to buy out of season). At TJ's, I bought all of the other party stuff: that tray of four kinds of hummus, a bunch of various chips and salsas, and brownie bites and lemon squares. For refreshments, Nate got beer and hard cider (an elderflower type from Angry Orchard, so good), and I got a bunch of those fancy sparkling juices from TJ's. The kids had a big serve-yourself juice container of watered down pink lemonade.

As for the dessert, we have noticed she doesn't love birthday cake but obsessively craves ice cream, so I brought up the idea of an ice cream sundae bar. YES YES YES! I knew at that point we were all set. The kiwis and strawberries went into a bowl, and the brownie bites and lemon squares in another bowl, to serve alongside the ice cream sundaes. Thanks to my mom, who bought Vivi some cooking supplies at Christmas, we already had a bunch of fancy sprinkles to go on top. Oh, and I got the ice cream and mini cones in bulk at the supermarket for cheap a few weeks ago and stashed them in the basement chest freezer I love dearly.



The Party

When the guests arrived, the kids ran around the backyard playing with our hastily purchased dollar store accoutrement, sidewalk chalk and butterfly nets. Watching them enjoy the unscheduled play time, I realized that even with short activities, I was still over-orchestrating the whole event. Next year I'm filling up the galvanized wash tub with water and bubbles and putting some tea pots and cups out there, and I have no doubt it will be enough. You should have seen them chase each other around the yard with those nets, trying to nab their friend's heads instead of bugs. The parent crowd eyed each other, shrugged, and passed around more food and drinks. Three cheers for good friends!



After-Party Run-Down

Here's another party tip: have the right adults present. I had fretted over the possibility of Vivi getting a bunch of crap we don't need for her gifts and pondered the idea of telling them not to bother ("Your presence is the present" kind of thing), but in the end I opted to let them make their own decisions, and it worked out perfectly! All the gifts she got were thoughtful and not what I would call a waste of resources. A fairy garden, a date to paint pottery, and some retro games like a Jacob's ladder. As time goes on, I am more convinced that all I need to do to raise good kids is to surround myself with a good tribe. The rest of the details fall into place on their own, if I have the courage to let go.


Tie dye was a bit of a mess. The kids were into it for about three minutes, until they realized the moms were doing most of the heavy lifting, and then they slowly wandered off. It was nice to be able to send everyone home with a t-shirt, but it wasn't an expected addition so I wouldn't do it again.

The ribbon piñata was fun in that it's much easier and more civil to have the children take turns without having them blindfolded, dizzy, and swinging a heavy bat, but I will tell you that the ribbons did not make the dang thing open. In the end, Nate still had to do the Dad Maneuver (sans wood saw, fortunately) and rip it apart.


To my surprise, the kids didn't dive in and elbow each other to get candy; they were all first-timers, so most stood there with dazed expressions, except for one girl who wisely grabbed a butterfly net and shoved it under the ladybug just in time to catch the spilled candy guts. I high-fived her mom for raising such a practical kid. My mom found these adorable peanut butter and jelly wallets on sale, so we let the kids put their piñata score in them, and I counted those and the tie-dye shirts as "goody bags."


I'm repeating myself with this last party rule, but it's worth saying again, as it is probably the most crucial element: invite a close friend of family member you can boss around, preferably of the female species. Of all the days I say "I wish I had a wife," the day of a party is the day I most need a clone. Last year we had my friend Liza, who stepped in beautifully to pull off the Spiderman (and Spiderwoman!) cookie cakes. This year my mom agreed to come and help wrangle, and I couldn't have done it without her. You want her and Liza on your party-planning team. Thanks Mom!


Sunday, March 03, 2013

mincamp, toddler braids, and new shoes

Sometimes it feels like a random download kind of day, and today is like that. Care to take a walk through my stream of consciousness?

We had neighbors over tonight for pizza and salad, and it was a fun first date! I sure hope they like us too, shucks.

It was a lazy, unproductive kind of weekend, but one highlight of productivity was my first tasks in the MinCamp, a 14-day workshop run by the ladies who wrote Minimalist Parenting to help parents enjoy "family life more by doing less." I've already done some basement organizing, sewn an eye onto Charlie's froggy hat, set aside some toys and clothes for a secondhand sale, and said no to some linen ironing I was planning to do before our guests arrived for dinner. You can still join any time, and it's free! Fun times.

Charlie has wispy hair these days, and the curl seems to be weighed down by the length. Part of me still worries that when I get it cut the curl will be gone forever, so I'm stalling on the cut for a while. In the meantime, we're enjoying some braids, like this one:


I'm slowly weaning Vivi off the all-pink-all-the-time, and I'm proud to say that I didn't even have to use the "Mommy is allergic to pink" excuse. Check out her new shoes!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

paying it forward with baby gear

When I was pregnant for the first time, I had a few showers given by friends and family, and they were a great way to celebrate my peanut and to get some of the gear I needed. Even more helpful, and completely unexpected, were the gifts from moms of hand-me-down clothes and toys. I received several large boxes over the years, and I would guess they saved us easily $1,000 and gave us the nice feeling you get from reusing instead of buying new.

Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...