Indiana Bastille Day (local living and a lesson about community)

fb_IBDay13Max

Bonjour! This past weekend, my family and I attended Indiana Bastille Day, an amazing free family event that was held right in our hometown.

We ate crepes, participated in the French Revolution (well, okay, the Fishers RenFaire actors participated and we watched on with appreciation), learned a bit about French culture and history, and got to know our neighbors, local police force, and firefighters.

In an inspiring mix of global and local cultures, we saw a marionette show, learned about the game petanque, and were impressed by the many talents of our area’s local artisans that were on display.  We discovered some new-to-us local businesses and we made some new friends.

What does a small town in Indiana have to do with the French Revolution, you ask?  Well, admittedly, not much at first glance.  But, here’s the most wonderful part about all of this:  Indiana Bastille Day is a lesson about what can happen when friends and neighbors come together.

You see, Indiana Bastille Day began just a few short years ago as a celebration in a local couple’s backyard. The wife is from France and the family held a Bastille Day event at their home to share French culture with their friends and neighbors.

[Read more...]

Frugal, Fun Summer Birthdays

happy birthday

This Summer, from time to time, I’ll be re-running some of my favorite Simple Kids posts.  This first Summer ReRun is a guest post from Elise Adams of Adam’s Organizing.  I think you’ll really enjoy her article on frugal, but fun, birthdays which originally appeared in July of 2011. – Kara

There are 6 kids in my happily-blended family—including a couple teenagers, two toddlers and a few in-between too! If you start counting aunts, uncles and cousins…the number of birthdays we need to celebrate every year is nearly incalculable!

THREE Guiding PRINCIPLES

1. Time vs. Stuff

One of the primary principles we live by in our nuclear family is that the best gift we can give each other is time together. We aren’t focused on accumulating the latest gadget or picking up the newest toy. This defined principle (we openly talk with our kids about this) really helps me focus on what is truly important—even during Birthday Season!

2. Nature vs. Electronics

We focus on attentively hearing each other, extravagantly playing together and deeply connecting to one another. Movies or amusement parks aren’t really our cup of tea—we’d prefer an outing to the river for a walk/run/bike ride or a drive to the mountains to pick wildflowers. These adventures allow us time to talk (the car is such a great place to get recalcitrant teenagers communicating again) and also work well when combining different age groups.

3. Collaboration vs. All-on-Mom’s-Shoulders

This is where having a big family is a BIG plus! Whether we’re getting together for an aunts/uncles/cousins birthday potluck or gathering for my babies 1st birthday, in our family we all contribute something. My husband is a great dish washer and my Mom (the kids Grandma) usually brings salad, bread and drinks. Even if it’s a last minute-thrown-together plan where we all pitch in I don’t end up feeling exhausted and worn out at the end of the day when we follow this principle!

[Read more...]

The Friday Five: Max’s Seventh Birthday

Max turns seven!

Note:  this post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Yesterday, my son Max celebrated his seventh trip around the sun.  So, I’d like to dedicate today’s Friday Five to my son Max, to seventh birthdays, and to celebrating the kids we love.

Today’s Friday Five is all about Max and his seventh birthday:

One

You are my one and only son and I love you so very much, wild thing.  I know that you put up with a lot being the only son in a house full of girls, but it is safe to say that you are totally adored by your sisters.  Well, most of the time.

Once upon a time you were the biggest baby in the NICU (at nine pounds, fifteen ounces) and sometimes when I think about how far we’ve come together, I feel both humbled and proud at the same time.  Being your mama is a pretty amazing thing and I’m so happy you picked me!

[Read more...]

Lucy turns five and the country mice visit the city {Want, Need, Wear, Read}

LucyFIVE 006

Note:  there are affiliate links within this post.

Sunday was a pretty exciting day at our house.  While I was celebrating being a mother, our family was also celebrating one of the very special people in our house because it was Lucy”s fifth birthday!

Lucy is one of my quieter children (though she has her moments of zaniness and wild behavior) and birthday parties aren”t really her thing.  Her introverted mother can certainly relate to that.

After some discussion, Lucy and I decided that we”d most like to spend our day swimming and being pampered and visiting one of her favorite places – the “big city.”

Yes, there”s a bit of irony in the country family “escaping” to the city.  It was very city mouse/country mouse of us, don”t you think?

[Read more...]

Those Amazing Ordinary Moments

MaxMia2012

The following was originally published in May 2010.  I have revised it a bit and added some new photos to share with you this Mother’s Day weekend.  I hope you enjoy it.  Best wishes, Kara

I love taking pictures of my kids.  I may not be the best photographer, or have fancy camera equipment, but every holiday, birthday, and special occasion will find me enthusiastically snapping pictures and coaxing smiles from my family.

Mother’s Day is this weekend and I will, of course, be bringing my camera along to document the day.  However, this year I want to take a different approach when looking through the lens of my camera: I want to focus on the ordinary.

What will I want to have a memory of years from now?  What seemingly ordinary moments and things will be precious to myself and to my children in the future?

KaraKids2010How much has changed since 2010. Wow.

Moments to Capture this Mother’s Day

The Faces

Because we don’t get together too often, I have a tendency try to squeeze every family member I can into large group photos. I do this because I want a record of us all together.

But afterward, I find myself staring a stack of group shots that I’m disappointed in because someone’s eyes were closed or somebody was looking away.

This  year I want to forgo the group shots and focus more on faces and individuals. [Read more...]