Archives for December 2009

Simple As That: Reconnect with Nature


I never cease to be amazed by the power of community, and I am so thoroughly blessed by the community here at Simple Kids.

Last week when I shared some thoughts on Resisting the Rush, Erin of exhale. return to center shared this thought in the comments:

i had lost track of when christmas is (despite two advent calendars!). i thought there was an extra weekend between now and christmas and earlier this week when i realized there was not, i went into quite a tailspin.

what helped to get me out of it was getting outside. my kids and i spent yesterday afternoon hiking in the woods talking to the gnomes and fairies, photographing moss, listening to birds.

it was just what i needed to refocus on what is important to me during this special season…simple beauty, magical moments, and being fully present with my loved ones.

today we’ll spend some time making ornaments for friends and then getting back outside for another nature walk!

(And Erin shares more thoughts on this in her note to self: go outside post.)

Oh, how badly I needed to hear this encouragement!  I must confess to being cold-weather-resistant.  It has been chilly here since December began, and I’ve chosen huddling inside my warm home over getting outside.  After I read Erin’s thoughts on the power of reconnecting with nature, I realized I was suffering from a lack of outdoor inspiration.

My toddler and I put on coats and hats and went for a brisk nature walk.  We were delighted to find bunches of still-green needles and pinecones right in our backyard.  We gathered them up, and now we have a nature display right inside our front door (pictured above).

For more inspiration from our Simple Kids community, make sure to read through the comments and follow the links in the Spotlight on You! Showcase from last Friday.

Read more on celebrating today’s Winter Solstice here.

What is the weather like where you are? Have you been able to get out and connect with nature at all?

December 18th: Spotlight on YOU!


We are absolutely up to our eyeballs in glittery sugar and swirly ribbons and holiday cards and all manner of Christmas business in our home this week.  To be very honest, I’ve really not had much time at all for blog reading, so I’m afraid I don’t have any weekend links to share today.

I do, however, want to open up the Showcase to you this week. I know so many of you have shared incredible recipes, posted precious pictures, and published inspiring words this month.

I would be honored if you would take a minute to share your link in the comments!

What would you like to showcase this week?

What We’re Reading: I Love Christmas and Max’s Christmas

It is Wednesday again, and we have two quick Christmas-themed book recommendations today.

Baby and Toddler

from Catherine (Adventures with Kids)

I Love Christmas by Anna Walker

“My name is Ollie.
I love Christmas.”

ilovechristmasThis is a simple and charming story that describes what Ollie the zebra loves about Christmas – some of the things he loves are baking Christmas cake, watching Christmas lights and listening for Santa’s sleigh bells.  I Love Christmas has rhyming text and beautiful watercolour illustrations sure to catch your child’s eye.

This book provides a perfect chance to talk about the simple pleasures of Christmas.  You could complement the book by making a small album with photos of your child enjoying Christmas.


from Megan (Simple Kids)

maxschristmasIn this family, we are huge fans of Rosemary Wells.  The Max and Ruby series of books are amongst the most-loved and often-read in our home library.  Our preschooler can recite from memory most every one of the classic stories written and illustrated by Wells.  It’s no surprise then that one of our family’s favorite Christmas books is Max’s Christmas.

Originally published in 1986, Max’s Christmas marked Wells’s transition from board books to picture books.  (You can read more about her writing career here.)  I love that the charming illustrations reflect the earliest visions Wells had for Max and Ruby.  This book was published long before the books inspired the animated series, and both the illustrations and simple text are truly vintage Rosemary Wells.

The plot line here is simple: Ruby helps Max prepare for bed on Christmas Eve.  Max has many, many questions for Ruby, and even the ever-patient Ruby resorts to “BECAUSE!” for an explanation.  My girls find the teeth-brushing scene particularly giggle-inducing, especially the part where Ruby has to remind Max to “Spit, Max!”

Precocious Max manages to stay up and catch Santa Claus in the act of delivering presents.  We find that jolly old Santa also eventually gets flustered by Max’s many questions.  As a parent, I like that the emphasis of the story is not necessarily on the gifts, but more on the anticipation that surrounds Christmas Eve.  Anyone with any experience with little ones can relate to the way a barrage of questions can frustrate even the most patient amongst us!

If you have a chance to check out a copy of Max’s Christmas before Christmas Eve, I am confident your family will enjoy a peek into the home of Max and Ruby this holiday season.