Weekend Links

“Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms, as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility–‘Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!'” -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

A Personal Challenge: Savor Autumn

The following is by editor Kara Fleck. It originally appeared October 2010.  I’d love to know: what are your personal challenges this Autumn?  How will you slow down and savor the season?

Over the summer I gave myself a personal challenge:  to be like the sun.  Slowing down the pace changed the rest of our season, for the better.  I want to carry that feeling of really savoring the current season into this Autumn.

My kids are each at these wonderful ages right now.  Their young personalities just sparkle.  I want to enjoy them and have fun together this season. I want to be silly together, embrace the small moments, and enjoy these children for who they are, right now, at ages two, four, and eight.

Every year, each new age brings so many changes.  I cannot actually slow down time, but I can alter my priorities a bit so that I’m more present in the current moment.

Here are the things I want to do and my personal challenges for this Autumn:

Be Present

Last weekend we went apple picking and I have a small confession to make:  the kids had a wonderful time, but I didn’t really enjoy it.

It isn’t that I disliked going. The problem was that I was so involved with looking at everything through the lens of the camera and trying to capture the moments and making memories for the kids that I forgot to join in and live the memories.

We’re going back to the orchard soon and I need to right my wrong of last weekend:  I’m handing the camera over and I’m going to be present in the moment and worry less about preserving it.

I want to feel the sun on my face, smell the apple trees, laugh with my kids, and just be with my family.

Plan Small

The other thing I seem to need a gentle reminder about lately is that not all memories have to come from a big event or require fancy planning. The small things are pretty wonderful, too. [Read more…]

Book Review: It’s a Jungle Out There! 52 Nature Adventures for City Kids

The following post is by contributor NJ Renie.

As parents, we hope our children will be just like us. Or at least like the better parts of us. I’m a country guy, but I love parenting in the big city.  My daughter has opportunities that I couldn’t have imagined when I was a kid, they’re virtually limitless and all within a few minutes of the front door.

That being said, I know that there will be times when I’ll wish I could just open that door, country-parent style, and tell her: Go explore, see you at supper. Wild and free in the country was a great way to grow up, and I’ve always been disappointed that my daughter will never really understand that freedom fully.

Needless to say, during a recent visit to my parents, when she saw the river that I grew up on and called it a “fountain,” I was, admittedly, a little panicked.
[Read more…]

What I'm Reading: The Rhythm of Family

The following is by editor Kara Fleck.

I haven”t had much time for reading lately.  Yes, there are still stacks and stacks of books laying about the house waiting for me to crack them open, but life with a new baby means that most of my time is spent doing other things beside reading. (And, okay, I”ll admit that sometimes when I find a few moments to myself it is the knitting needles that I reach for and not a book).

However, I”m pleased to say that a few books have made it off of my teetering nightstand piles and into active reading rotation, becoming my companions during late night and early morning nursing sessions and those rare moments during the day that I have to myself.

One of those books was contributor Mariah Bruehl”s and the other has been Amanda and Stephen Soule”s The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons.

If you”ve been reading Simple Kids for very long, it is probably evident to you that rhythm is important to me as parent.  In our home, we have daily rhythms, weekly rhythms, and even a yearly rhythm as the seasons change.  So I was very intrigued when I found out the title of this book and what its focus would be.  It seemed to be exactly the kind of book I”d fall in love with and I”d been anticipating it for months before its release.

I”m happy to report that The Rhythm of Family was well worth the wait.

[Read more…]

Simplify This Fall: And the Winner Is ….

Good morning, friends!  I hope you are enjoying your weekends.  We’ve got a Saturday of college football, lego building, and cookie baking planned.  I’m taking a quick break from the weekend to announce the winner of our recent giveaway.

The winner of the Simplify This Fall series scholarship from Donna Ashton of The Parenting Studio is …

Loretta S.

“I borrowed this book from my library and loved it so much that I now need to own so as to have a reference for when it is needed. Because of it, I started a nightly tradition of eating our bedtime snack via candle light. Great, great book!!”

Congratulations, Loretta!  Be on the lookout for an email soon, explaining how to claim your prize.

If you didn’t win and are interested in the course, remember that Donna is offering all Simple Kids readers a discount code for Simplify This Fall.  Use the code SIMPLEKIDS to get $30 off your registration to the course.