Changes for a New Year


Welcome to the February edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – New Beginnings cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month’s topic, our writers consider where they are with their New Year’s Resolutions or new ventures of 2013. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.

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Sunrise

Photo by Krug6 (Flickr)

The beginning of a New Year often brings New Year’s resolutions. A few weeks later, or sometimes less, most of those same people will have given up. Their lofty goals having been too much to change all at once. Because of that, I’ve never really been one for New Year’s resolutions. I assumed that if my grand ambitions were going to go by the wayside, I was pretty much setting myself up for failure. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to enact changes in my life. I do. I just look at it differently.

At the end of 2012, I had decided that there were some things that I would like to change. I’ve taken a simple approach to it. I’m changing and making small habits and giving them time to set in. In January, I worked on taking a moment to  breathe each day. During those times, I didn’t multi-task. I just took value in being. I’ll be honest to say that I learned quite a bit about myself that way. I finally figured out why it is that I never stop working on projects, why I have a hard time saying no to queries for help, and why I feel at a loss if I’m not busy with something.

February is a month to write and begin some projects I’ve long considered but have never begun. While my blogging has been spotty, my writing on larger projects has increased. I’ve already chosen what to work on next: getting back into yoga. I used to really enjoy the feeling of doing yoga and miss it.

Most of us would like to change something about ourselves. None of us are perfect. Whether it is a bad habit we want to change or a healthier habit we want to begin, the potential is always there. We don’t have to save up these changes for a new year. Each day, each moment, is a new beginning: a new possibility. We only have to make the decision to change. If we fall short of our goals, it’s okay, because there is another new beginning starting right now.



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Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living into their lives via new beginnings. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Clearing the Clutter!

 

 

  • Using Special Time to Simply Connect – Amber at Heart Wanderings begins to focus on simply connecting with each of her children for a few minutes of Special Time each day. A deeper connection and sense of joy, softening of emotional outbursts, and less sibling rivalry have resulted from this practice.
  • Redefining Simplicity – Living within our needs – Survivor from Surviving Mexico talks about how moving from a first-world country to a third world country has changed her family’s perception of simplicity. Adapting to this new life has not been easy, but can be done with an attitude of gratitude.
  • Changes – Sustainable mom writes about how she is bringing back a beat to a rhythm that has been falling apart.
  • Listening to my Kids – Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs is seeking peace and freedom after over-scheduling her daughters.
  • Thankful to Begin Again – Mercedes @ Project Procastinot learns a lesson from her twins.
  • Changes for a New Year – Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is concentrating on making small changes this year in an effort to make better habits.
  • Parenting Two: A Fresh Start – Joella at Fine and Fair embraces the transition as her family grows as a new beginning by being gentle with herself and realistic with her expectations.
  • Finding Balance – At Authentic Parenting, Laura looks at where she’s gotten fighting depression and spiring to a more harmonious life.

 

Simply Living Blog Carnival February 2013 Call for Submissions: New Beginnings

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. We hope that you will join us on the third Tuesday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the second Tuesday of each month.

It’s been a month since the New Year began, and for most that means that any new resolutions have gone by the wayside. Have you started something new in order to bring about a more simple lifestyle? What prompted you to look at simple living? Share one of your New Beginnings with us.

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com anddelilahfineandfair{at}gmail{dot}com, and fill out the webform by February 12. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on February 19.

We want you to use creativity and to express yourself as you see fit. To that end, you are welcome to post at your discretion with a few guidelines in mind. Please be respectful in your posts. Avoid excessive profanity and poor grammar or spelling. As the co-hosts of the carnival are all advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Simply Living through Simple Living! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways we simplify our lives.

Simple Living is Simply Living

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading read on at the bottom of this post by clicking the links to the other participants’ posts.

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Cala

Photo by Marcos Molina

Simple Living is an increasingly popular term in recent years, and like many popular terms, there is no set definition of the phrase. For some people, simple living means living on as little money as possible. For others, simple living means outsourcing tasks so that they have more time to do the things they enjoy. You will find as many definitions of simple living as there are people practicing it. Regardless of how one defines simple living, we can find individuals practicing their own versions of this lifestyle across all groups in our society. There is no limiting factor as to who can practice simple living. The only limitations are the ones we allow.

For our family, simple living means simply, living. It can’t get more basic than that. How that looks to outsiders changes a bit based on where we are in our lives, experiences, and needs, but our main focus point is to remember those things which are important to us.

We aren’t extreme in our version of simple living. Our home neither resembles a monastery nor a cluttered mess. We limit purchases, but when we do purchase an item, we try to purchase a quality item which will last us. We strive to find a balance in life, trying new things and experiences while maintaining the down time required by a family of six introverts. By simply living, we hope to show our children the importance of focusing on what is important to us rather than on what someone else believes to be important. Through simple living, we can know ourselves.

 

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Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading by clicking the links of our participants posts. We hope you will join us next month, as we discuss new beginnings!

 

  • The Moments In Between – Amber from Heart Wanderings takes her yoga practice off the mat to focus on the ordinary moments which make mothering magical.
  • Simple living – what it looks like to me – Does simple living mean we have to be selfish? And what does selfish mean anyway? Mrs Green from Little Green Blog ponders in search of a more simple life…
  • A Simple Life is a Peaceful Life, For Me – Destany at They Are All of Me writes how simplicity is a very necessary part of her daily function and crucial for coping with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Getting Back to the Basics – Minimalism was the first step toward living simply for Momma Jorje. Now she’s got big plans on getting back to the basics of living in order to live a simple, healthy, family-focused lifestyle.
  • Simplicity – What living simply means to sustainablemum and how it is woven into the fabric of daily life.
  • Simply Living – Sophelia of Sophelia’s Adventures in Japan writes about her reluctance to tighten her budget after years of living in poverty, but also her anticipation of the pleasures of simplifying her daily life as she and her husband prepare to adopt a child in Japan.
  • The Simple Life: A Work in Progress – Joella at Fine and Fair ponders her idealized vision of simple living and discusses the steps she’s taking to get closer to it.
  • Simple Living is Simply Living – At Living Peacefully with Children, Bart and Mandy hope to help their children focus on what is truly important by simply living.
  • Happiness, not Greatness – Lauren at Hobo Mama discovered that ambitions got in the way of simply being.
  • Shifting to Simplicity – At Authentic Parenting, Laura shares a couple of ways in which she tries to simplify her life.

 

A Vacation from the World

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

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Alone again

Photo by Hartwig HKD

Each year, our family takes a little vacation from the world. Starting with the Winter Solstice, my husband takes time off from work and we hang out at home, just our family. We play games. We read books. We watch movies.

We do many of the things we normally do, but we forego the social obligations. We skip out on performances and co-op classes. You won’t find us hanging out with friends. For approximately two weeks, it is just us.

Eventually the day comes when my husband has to head back to work. The kids and I return to attending cool co-op classes and other activities with friends. I play catch up on deadlines and housework.

But that two weeks of just us? That makes it all worth it. We look forward to when we can do it again.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old’s ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
  • Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • Holiday-Free but not Stress-Free — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.

Simply Living Blog Carnival January 2013 Call for Submissions: Simply Living

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. We hope that you will join us on the third Tuesday of each month as we share posts about simple living in our lives. Submission deadline will be the second Tuesday of each month.

Simple Living means different things to each person and each family. What we all have in common is that we are all trying to concentrate on what is important to us while eliminating those things which clutter our lives and take away from living. This January, we want to know how you, personally, define simple living for yourself and what that looks like in your life.

To submit an article to the blog carnival, please e-mail your submission to mandy{at}livingpeacefullywithchildren{dot}com anddelilahfineandfair{at}gmail{dot}com, and fill out the webform by January 8. Please write a new, unpublished piece for the carnival. We will e-mail you with instructions before the carnival date. We ask that you publish your post on January 15.

We want you to use creativity and to express yourself as you see fit. To that end, you are welcome to post at your discretion with a few guidelines in mind. Please be respectful in your posts. Avoid excessive profanity and poor grammar or spelling. As the co-hosts of the carnival are all advocates of peaceful living and gentle parenting, we ask that you not post about non-gentle practices or violence toward others. While we will not be editing your articles, we do reserve the right to not add your post to the carnival if it is not on topic, is poorly written, or goes against the guidelines which have been set forth.

Blog carnivals are a great way to generate blog traffic and build a supportive community. Your blog will receive links from many other blogs and you and your readers will have the opportunity to discover other blogs with similar goals in mind. Please join us as we embrace Simply Living through Simple Living! We hope you will consider joining us every month as we discuss ways we simplify our lives.

Hibernating During Halcyon

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays

This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

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Licht / LightIt’s getting colder out. This year there was no gradual change to speak of. It seemed that we had gone from 100 degree temperatures to freezing nights in the course of a few weeks. With it, came a feeling that my family should be hibernating, cuddled up under blankets, reading lovely books, and sipping hot cocoa. This feeling also stems from the fact that our schedule has been a bit over packed this fall. Normally we do pretty well at keeping it under control so that our family of introverts receives the time at home that we need. This fall, with extra weekly activities getting packed in last minute on top of what was a nice schedule, we are all feeling it. We are looking forward to a slower pace and more time at home to snuggle and contemplate.

Our family’s main winter holiday is Halcyon. Technically, it’s not a day and it doesn’t even occur in winter, as we celebrate Halcyon leading up to the Winter Solstice. With dropping temperatures, I think we can effectively call it a winter celebration. Typically, we celebrate Halcyon starting with Thanksgiving and culminating on the night of the Solstice. This year, however, I’m considering starting on November 1, as is typical. I’m ready to contemplate.

Halcyon is a time of peace. It’s a time of contemplation and introspection, of considering where our lives are and where we want them to be. It’s about realigning ourselves on our journey, refocusing ourselves, and taking a moment to redirect that inner compasses. Halcyon is a time of darkness and quiet as we await the return of the light. Halcyon is meditative and healing.

I think that this year, for me, Halcyon is also about hibernating and enjoying.

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Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts:
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  • Making Halloween – JW at True Confessions of a Real Mommy says “No need to spend a lot this Halloween! Check out some easy, frugal ideas for dressing your family up!”
  • Hibernating During Halcyon – Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and her family are gearing up for the Halcyon celebrations and enjoying some quiet time as a family.
  • Savoring Family Time (or, Simple Homemade Gifts) – Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM is trying to prepare for the holidays early so she can slow down and enjoy time with her family as the days grow shorter and a new baby enters their lives.
  • 7 Green Gifts for Toddlers – Shannon at GrowingSlower shares unique green gift ideas for kids this holiday season that are sure to be green mom approved.
  • Less is More: Simplifying the Holidays to Make Room for More of What Matters – Amy at Anktangle shares a few easy strategies she uses to keep the holidays manageable, stress-free, and fun!
  • buy nothing x-mas? – mama lola at bear & lion describes what christmas is all about to her and her family; treats, music, crafts and LOVE!
  • DIY holiday fun – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger revels in thrifting for and making her own holiday gifts and decorations.

Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.

Spring Baskets

When I originally bought these baskets, I thought they were cute and sweet, and oh-so Pottery Barnish at a fraction of the price. Then I spent years trying to store them, wishing I had merely made fabric baskets like our Halloween trick or-treat bags which could be easily folded and packed away.

This year I did finally make new liners for them to replace the old ones. I had something different in mind, but my children liked the spring colors with white polka dots. With cloth liners, there is no need to even consider the horrible plastic grass we had as kids (not that you would anyway).

Reusable baskets, cloth liners, and carefully thought out items to place in them can change a potentially commercialized holiday into a simple one full of memories. We kept that in mind for our Ostara celebrations this year as we continually aim toward voluntary simplicity. Want to simplify your spring baskets? Check out some of these simple ideas:

  • Skip the mass marketed pre-made baskets and go for something you put together yourself. Personal touches make any gift better.
  • While natural baskets may be what we grew up with and can definitely be used year after year, they aren’t your only options. Think outside the box or even in a box.
  • Skip the candy, or at least the majority of it. Who needs that much sugar? Rather than filling the basket full of sugar filled confectionaries (mmmmm….Peeps……), look for more meaningful items to fill the bulk.
  • Consider something spring themed. Share your own childhood with items like bird whistles and hand knitted bunnies that take you back. Choose something that grows with your child and the season. Next year, when we are in our new house, I plan on putting packets of seeds for the kids to grow in their very own garden plots. Some gardening tools would go perfectly with that.
  • Looking for some more filler? Choose something that you would use anyway and needs to be replinished, such as art supplies. Sidewalk chalk is always appreciated by my children this time of year, when winter is over and we are spending more time outside, as are the ever popular bubbles. Try some outdoor supplies such as a compass, magnifying glasses, or something else for your spring explorations.
  • Keep it simple. Kids like it better that way.

Life Gets in the Way

Photo by Raj

In the past few months, I have been guilty of not doing something I had every intention of doing, and then uttering to someone that “life gets in the way.” I’ve been stressed out. In fact, last month I was so stressed out that I could feel the stress buzzing through my body, I broke out in fever blisters, and I picked up my stress vice – soda. I felt like crying at thet time. I wasn’t juggling everything very well and would have been greatful to take a nap and wake up to find all of my obligations taken care of (minus my family, of course). I’ve had to slow down, cut things out, take things one at a time, and work on dwindling my list. I had to tell people “no” when asked for a favor, help, or whatever it was that I normally find myself wanting to help people with.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself contemplating what it is I really want to accomplish, what I want to do with my life, what I want out of life, and how my stress and obligations fit into that. I remembered uttering the phrase, “Life gets in the way.” Sure, things come up; it’s a part of life. What exactly is life getting in the way of, though? Isn’t our ultimate purpose right now life and how we live it? How could life get in the way of….life?

That was the point when it finally felt like I was making a dent in my list. I had lost focus somehow, allowed other things to get in the way of life, and stressed myself out in the process. Certainly, I had no control over some of those things, but I do have control over how I deal with them and I have a lot of control over what I choose to allow into my life. Remembering that little fact seemed to take a large weight off of my shoulders, and I am working toward getting back to living my life the way I want – not running around ragged trying to do everything for everyone. Life doesn’t get in the way of other things; we allow other things to get in the way of life.

Happy Boxing Day!

Photo by Rob Howells

Boxing Day isn’t celebrated much in the States. It started out long ago as the day when wealthy land owners would give supplies to their workers for the following year. Hundreds of years later, the day has turned into a day to think of others – those who are less fortunate or who are in a lower position. Whatever one’s take on it, it’s a great day to give to others and declutter some things that you don’t need.

We plan to look around our house today for items we no longer need. Boxing Day is the perfect holiday for an obessessive declutterer (ahem!). It’s also a way to start the coming new year off right, with fewer things to take care of. I also plan to set up an official donation station in our garage in order to keep the donations going out in a timely manner all year long.

Balance

Photo by Murray Barnes

Balance is a continual process. In order to stay balanced, we must be constantly shifting and adapting to even small changes in the environment or situation. When something changes, we must also change in order to maintain our balance. If we don’t, then not only do we lose our previous balance, but we tend to topple down the other side. This is true not only in regard to our activities and the busyness of our lives but with our relationships, including those relationships with our children. When our children are out of balance, we need to step over and help regain that balance rather than spiralling down, out of control.