Thursday, December 24, 2015

Celebrate ... MAGIC!

Hoping you are having a magical holiday season!

And if it isn't magical, I hope it isn't too terrible. 

And if it is terrible, I send you extra love!! <3

Our holiday season has been messy, busy, glorious and full. As life with a young family should be!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

An Advent in Books

Can you believe that the Advent season is just around the corner?! I know, me either!

I love this season for the magic, the lights, the coziness of snuggling in with blankets and hot cocoa and the family traditions built around the holidays.

I am not such a fan of the consumerism, the rush to get things done, the pressure to create a perfect holiday or the endless to-do lists. So much not a fan.

For the past few years we have started a few simple traditions for our family, but one of my favorite is our Advent Books.

During the Advent period I fill our reading nook bookshelf up with our holiday books, many of which we have had for several years, and read one aloud at bed time. I don't do this every night, and it is not all brand new books, but cozy-ing up on the sofa to read, makes for a sweet and simple tradition. Sometimes we read by candle light with cocoa and (vegan! - these are amazing!) marshmallows, and sometimes we don't!

It's lovely! It doesn't add undue stress to our days (nothing kills a moment than having a frazzled mama!), it's not a budget breaker (I think I added four new-to-us books to our holiday stash this year for a grand total of $10, and even have a few library books that I'm adding to our shelves and returning after they've been read) and it's centered around one of our very favorite things to do - reading aloud!


Here are some of the books that will be included in our Advent collection this year:

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story, by Cynthia Rylant

The Christmas Day Kitten, by James Herriot

Morris' Disappearing Bag, by Rosemary Wells

Winter Story (Brambly Hedge), by Jill Barklem

The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Jan Brett

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice, by Wendy Pfeffer

The Story of the Snow Children, by Sybille von Olfers (This one is a particular favorite; the story is delightful and the illustrations are magical!)

The Cowboy's Christmas, by Joan Walsh Anglund

The Legend of Old Befana, by Tomie dePaola

Winter, by Gerda Muller (Another absolute favorite, this is one of four part seasonal series. The illustrations are lush and detailed; my children talk about these books all year long).

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Monday, November 30, 2015

A Year of Gratitudes

So much to be grateful for.
(Part one is here).

11. Chocolate. Obviously.

12. Finding new tank tops, on sale no less, to replace some well worn camisoles. And! - I bought a couple that were not just black or white. V v excited!

13. Sitting at the window with my husband and all three kiddo's watching the birds at out bird feeder, with binoculars, identification guides and a song bird app. Perfect Sunday morning.

14. Spending time with My Good Man and having that sudden  happy realization that I really really like him. More than love him; I LIKE him. He's a great person to be around.

15. Found all three kiddos in our newly created homeschool/work office, busy busy busy with projects.

16. Podcasts. I can't tell you how much podcasts have changed my relationship with chores for the better. (I could do a post just on my podcast listening ... there are a lot of them!)

17. Homemade crumpets. With butter. And jam. So good.

18. Finding just the thing I wanted, on sale during the Black Friday weekend, without a lot of hunting and searching. And free shipping.

19. The Facebook Groups App, which has allowed me to remove the Facebook App from my phone and helped me take a big step away from FB.

20. Gilmore Girls. Don't judge; its the perfect fun, and not too heavy Netflix binge fodder.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Claiming Thanksgiving

I've felt a little vague about the big holidays since becoming an adult; in part I've known that this was because I did not live in the States as a child, and that the way of celebrating, the very holidays themselves, are not my own. Its always felt difficult to put my own mark on holidays traditions when the holidays aren't 'mine'.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and the kiddos and I had the morning to ourselves. Baby Girl asked what our plans were, and when I told her that I had planned to go to a local park for a walk, The Little Guy piped in with 'That's what we do to celebrate'.

And I realized that he is right!

It is what we often did to mark the big holidays when I was growing up: go for a walk as a family!

And that one comment helped me realize that we DO have our own family traditions around the holidays.

We do one big feast with friends and family, simple meals and snacks for the rest of the day.

We go for a walk as a family.

We spend our time together, slooooow down and enjoy each other's company.

There is usually a board game or two involved ...

We have FUN!

But more over we keep it simple. Not much hoopla, not too much fanciness beyond getting out the nice glasses and digging through the stack of cloth napkins for the nicer ones.

I'm realizing that we do have traditions throughout the year, but they are simple ones for sure.

What do you do to celebrate the holidays? Simple or fancy?!