Archives for December 2011

An Uncomplicated Holiday: Resisting the Rush

The following post is by Megan Tietz and originally appeared in December 2009. With just a little less than two weeks until Christmas, I thought her words would serve as a good, gentle reminder to keep the holidays simple for our kids and for ourselves. Enjoy! – Kara

With just ten days left until Christmas Day, the pace is beginning to quicken in my home.

Does it feel that way for you?

It seems that no matter how devoted I am to the pursuit of an uncomplicated holiday, the days leading up to Christmas and New Years feel more and more frenzied.  I find myself doing frequent “tension checks” throughout the day – noticing the curt responses to my children, the nagging weight of gifts still not purchased, and the inner turmoil over the dwindling Christmas budget.

When I take a moment to step back and assess what helps me resist the rush in the countdown to Christmas, I’ve noticed three practices that inspire me to an enjoyment of the season rather than an attitude of “I must endure.”

1) Stay out of the stores.

We’ve thoughtfully planned out our children’s Christmas presents, using the “Something she wants, something she needs, something to wear, something to read” idea as we made our purchases.  Yet a simple dash into the discount store or a brisk walk through the mall leaves me feeling bombarded with all that my children will not be receiving this year.

My days are so much more simple and guilt-free when I can stay out of the stores (and curtail my internet browsing as well!).

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Weekend Links

Guess who learned how to blow raspberries?

No-Sew, No-Knit Homemade Gift Ideas (updated for 2011)

The following post is by editor Kara Fleck. It originally appeared in November 2010 and has been updated for 2011.

Last year, I wrote about homemade gift ideas and shared with you what I was working on Christmas 2010.  Since I”m a knitter and I dabble at sewing, many of the gifts on that list were related to those skills.

I got a request for ideas that don”t involve knitting or sewing and I thought that would be a helpful idea for a post.  So, here you go: a round- up of homemade gifts ideas that don”t involve any sewing or knitting – updated for 2011.

Handmade Gift Ideas: The No-Sew, No-Knit Version

I have been going through my bookmarks, my Pinterest boards, as well as some of my favorites from this year”s Weekend Links posts, and have pulled together a list of no-sew, no-knit gift ideas for kids. (Note: I have not personally tried all of these).


This year our family has been doing some woodworking and my oldest two kids are helping their Dad make a set of blocks for our youngest.  The blocks we are making are simple rectangles and squares that the kids are measuring and cutting (with help from Mom &  Dad).  Max and Jillian are sanding the blocks smooth and we will give them a light beeswax polish finish before giving them to Lucy.

2011 notes:  these were a big hit and have turned out to be a terrific present idea that we can add to.  This year Jillian and her dad have been busy in the woodshop and we”ve got a few more blocks, including some arches and longer pieces, to put in Lucy”s stocking this year.

Tree blocks (blocks with the tree bark intact) are also a favorite of ours and I found a tutorial for making them here at Counting Coconuts.

Other Wooden Gift Ideas:


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