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Showing posts with label NaBloPoMo. Show all postsShowing posts with label NaBloPoMo. Show all posts

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 Fridayat6:05 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Books,Charity,Holidays,Minimalism,NaBloPoMo,Parenting,Simplicity

Friday, November 01, 2013


on costumes {including Sox} & NaBloPoMo

So okay, I’m going to do that NaBloPoMo thing again! I will probably regret my decision tomorrow when my ideas scatter and hide, but I’m trying to take Anne Lamott’s advice to write every day for a while and see how that goes (Lamott fans: I even got myself a 1-inch blank picture frame for inspiration.) Hold on to your butts!…

Last night was so fun! The weather was wonderful. My mom summed it up perfectly by noting how great it is not to have everyone asking “So what are you dressed up as under that big puffy coat?” Indeed! Vivi went as her favorite story character, Lady Bug Girl, and Charlie went as a cowgirl (Vivi’s costume from our 1st year in Boston).

This was the best one I got! Missed out on the hobby horse.

I didn’t expect Charlie to get into the event as much as she did, but she periodically and indiscriminately shouted “YEEHAW!” throughout the evening, much to everyone’s surprise and delight. Forgetting that she would have zero recollection as to how the whole trick-or-treat business works, I gave the kids a quick reminder tutorial about saying “Happy Halloween!” and “Thank you!” to every candy distributor, not going off with strangers, and watching their step on slippery stairs (earlier drizzle + fallen leaves = a big wet mess) but otherwise gave no instruction. After happening upon their first house on the block, Charlie ran back to me screaming “THEY GAVE ME CANDY!!!” and asked if she could eat it. She then proceeded to scream and eat for the next four houses until I told her that maybe it’d be a good idea if some of the candy made it into her bag.

Meanwhile, Vivi was off and running in a nearly completely unbridled manner. Sometimes I didn’t even have a good handle on where she was for a brief moment, but fortunately we were among a bunch of friends at the ends of the group to help corral the stragglers and eager overachievers. You can also take my word for it that our neighborhood is beyond safe on Halloween. There are adults milling about and chatting out in the middle of our quiet street, and nearly every house is exceptionally well lit with porch lights, street lights, Halloween-themed lights (a new sight to me upon moving to Boston), and plenty of jack-o-lanterns. Last year the local school’s marching band even made an appearance! It is almost apologetically adorable.

…If I haven’t convinced you yet, allow me to report that we are that neighborhood people come from other towns to trick-or-treat in. Not that I am gloating. Or maybe yes…

We hit every house on the block and were rounding the corner when both kids asked me to hold their loot, which was my cue to rally the troops for the march back up the hill home. I heard lots of happy sighs and bold statements of “BEST DAY EVER!,” so I know Halloween is a holiday that’s here to stay. I’m glad about that, but I’m also happy to ease into a quiet, food-and-milestone-themed November. Sorry for not taking more pictures, but Charlie disrobed a part of her costume at nearly every house, so I was busy balancing a hobby horse, plastic belt, and a cowgirl hat that didn’t fit my head, plus my own umbrella and camera that went unused.

In other life news, this has been a tough week for me–despite the fun last night and the big Red Sox win that so many people anxiously awaited and then confusingly didn’t seem to celebrate. Although I normally don’t participate in cliche monikers for the days of the week, today I am shouting from a rooftop “TGGGGGGGGIFFFFFFF!!” All that’s on the docket for the weekend is skating on Saturday and church/choir practice on Sunday. I can’t wait to settle into my jammies and unwind.at9:53 PM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Boston,Halloween,Holidays,NaBloPoMo

Thursday, March 14, 2013


p.s. I’m not raising toilets either

Among members of my dad’s family, there are some well-known parenting phrases that came from my great grandmother, who had eight children and lived to be 92. It’s hard to pick a favorite. When asked how she raised so many children so well, she always replied “With one blind eye and one deaf ear.” I love that one because it’s basically the only way I’ve stayed sane since becoming a mom.

The one I’ve got on my mind this week is “I’m raising children, not furniture.” She would say it whenever one of the kids would spill, break, or generally mistreat an object in her home. I love it because it’s so true! Whatever angry outburst that I am inclined to have when my kids break something is never worth it compared to the positive and lasting worth of the patience and love I can show them instead.

photo ae6eefaf-4857-441b-8d8d-6994310809d8_zps42ef99b7.jpg
That’s not to say I don’t erupt from time to time, like when they combined forces to make the toilet overflow yesterday, just so they could “use the potty fixer thing like Mommy does,” and I walked in to find water drowning the floor, the kids, and my humility. La di da, la di da.

I find another use of this phrase–perhaps unintended by Great Grandma–is an internal mantra when I’m pondering whether to play with my kids or clean up. Tonight we voted for playing dominoes at the dining room table instead of doing the dishes. And so, okay, dishes aren’t furniture, but the general meaning is the same.

Random assortment of above-the-sink collectibles. Items change weekly but never disappear completely.

The likely reason I’ve got the phrase on my mind this week is that instead of doing my nightly cleaning and organizing, I’ve been writing and reading. I have gotten back into the swing of writing every day, even if it’s only a paragraph, and I’m immensely enjoying myself. NaBloPoMo (the blogging every day thing) really helps me get the gears turning. Tonight I’m doing more reading than writing, since I am doing my part to vote for The Bloggies. Check it out, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the potential for time suckage.

Be well and stay dry,
~Jat10:46 PM4 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Best of the Interwebs,Blogging,Discipline,Family,NaBloPoMo,Parenting

Saturday, March 02, 2013


how to build your blog readership

How I ward off writer’s block: Caffeine and sugar. It works!

One of the greatest tips I’ve learned about writing is that the best way to get over writer’s block is to write every day. In that spirit, I’m planning to blog every day in March! I have a few recipes, some ideas that have been bouncing around my mind, and some great guests who are going to join us. I’ll start today with a practical post about blogging.

I recently wrote to a friend who is starting to blog for her business with some of my tips for how she can build followers. I realized after finishing the email that I had written a lengthy list of ideas that could also be useful to others.

I seem to have been pretty good at developing a group of followers on my blog (hey you guys!). The Facebook page is another story, but maybe if I do a better job of asking people to like it–I have a hard time doing that–I’ll be more successful there. If you’re reading this, why not pop over there and say hi or share it with your friends? Thanks!

One of the most important tricks of website traffic is the number of sites that link to you. I find that at first, no one was finding my blog in Google, but now I get followers that way because my search engine hits are so much higher.

Here are a few ways to jumpstart your blog:

1) Join link parties/blog hops. I’m not big on these any more because they are so time-consuming, but I think they are worthwhile when you are just starting to blog. The following link parties (i.e. blog hops) are a few of my favorites:

2) Join a “blog carnival,” where you write a post on a specific subject that is listed on a single page with a bunch of other bloggers’ articles on that topic. Here’s a list of natural parenting carnivals

3) Guest post on another blog in your topic area. Start with local writers, and stick with writers in your metier. My best writing is always on subjects near to my heart. I’m happy to have you post on mine too, just send me your pitch! One way to get guests is to reciprocate and allow them to post on your blog.

4) Quarterly online magazines and group networks are a GREAT way to get followers. I write for “Rhythm of the Home” and “Natural Parents Network.”

If you want ads, you need to establish a blog and have a certain number of pageviews first. The second way both to get traffic and to make money is sponsorships. You can pay to “sponsor” another blog, which means you buy a little square ad in the sidebar. Then you can run some on your blog too. You’ll see a few in my sidebar over there >>>>>.

Author’s Note: This post is part of LHITS DIY Linkyat7:30 AM8 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blogging,NaBloPoMo

Thursday, October 04, 2012


highs and lows

Cap’n Obvious reporting for duty to tell y’all, moving is no fun. Next time you think about moving, remember that. The only thing you can expect about moving is that your stuff will be everywhere, and you will forget to do something VERY important and scramble to get it done. That seems to be happening to me every day right now.

I’ll recap the day with some highs and lows.


Read more »at10:41 PM1 comment: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:NaBloPoMo

Monday, October 01, 2012


raison d’être

Charlie on her first morning of “stay and play” school.

October already? We have an action-packed month, including a move, some of my first doula clients, and getting in shape for my reunion row in a month. To give myself an outlet for discussing all that’s happening and to hold myself accountable in my desire to exercise every day, I’ve decided to join up with NaBloPoMo, that thing where you blog every day for a month. I hope you’ll read along!

If you know me well, you might know that today’s post title happens to be the name of one of my favorite beers. But I’m not writing about beer this time, I’m writing about my discovery in the last two years of what really matters to me. My reason for existence, my everything, my be all to end all.

Read more »at7:30 AM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Back to Work?,Books,Boston,Doula,Home ranging,NaBloPoMo

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


the finish line

Today is the final day of LoHoRaBloPoMo, my month of daily blogging. What a month this has been, both for the blog and for me! I began sharing my blog for the first time to a wider audience than just close friends and family. Put simply, wow. I am humbled by all the attention the blog has received. A very heartfelt thank you for reading!

Combining the 23-day frugal living challenge with my daily blogging turned out to be a great idea because I had a continual source of inspiration when it didn’t come from within. This led to some posts that garnered exponentially higher hits than I’m used to getting. As my aunt said, I may have just found my metier. Here are the top five posts in order of popularity…
Read more »at10:33 AM2 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blogging,NaBloPoMo,Pinterest

Thursday, January 26, 2012


you found me how?!

I got the idea to post about the crazy ways people find my blog via Word Nerd Speaks. This is my first installment, aside from the time I laughed about geese and Tim Geithner, of what I imagine will be a more frequent occurrence of the people who find my blog through strange and sometimes hilarious Google searches. The following are some of the #youfoundmehow searches from this month:

Read more »at8:39 AM8 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:#youfoundmehow,Blogging,Funny,NaBloPoMo,Whackadoo

Saturday, January 21, 2012


do wacka do

“At my age, you think you’ve seen it all. Then boom! Somethin’ else happens.” -Burt, Raising Hope
Remember how we got rid of cable last week? Yeah, well apparently that doesn’t mean we stop watching TV. That 9-10pm hour draws me to the couch like an undertow, and most nights I’m too brain-dead to read my shiny stack of library books. Instead, we’ve discovered a new show to stream on Netflix, marathon-style: Raising Hope! It took us so long to get on board, despite the literally dozens of friends who told us we should. In case you’re also one of those people who can only add so many TV shows to the repertoire at once, let me just say that this one should move up a few notches on your stand-by list.

Read more »at8:00 AM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:NaBloPoMo,Top 5 list,TV,Whackadoo

Sunday, January 01, 2012


tending my livestock

“Everybody’s coming back to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone.” -Minnie Driver, Gross Pointe Blank
What’s on your New Year’s Day agenda? Are you cleaning? Shopping? Enjoying the outdoors? Taking stock of your life in 2011?

Read more »at11:00 AM6 comments: Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to PinterestLabels:Blogging,Holidays,NaBloPoMo Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)


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