Yearly planning with a file crate system

I’m over at Simple Mom today, guest posting for Tsh while she’s on her break.  I’m writing about a topic I don’t get to share too much about in my regular blogging routine:  organizing.  I’m sharing my file crate system and I hope you’ll come over to Simple Mom and take a look. – Kara

As much as I love paperless planning and Pinterest, for some things there is just no substitute for actual paper planning.

I love technology, but when it comes to things like holiday recipes written in my grandmother’s hand, family wedding invitations, and articles from the print resources I use, I find it is just more practical, even meaningful, for me when they are in their original paper form.

And, truth be told, even though I am a blogger, I like to have certain aspects of my life “unplugged” and power-cord free.

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Nature Tables: A Simple Way to Connect with the Natural World

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama. This post originally appeared in July 2010.

A nature table, or nature corner, is a nice way to create a space within our homes that can remind us of our connection to the natural world outside. Devoting an small area of our home to a seasonal display is a simple way to be mindful of that bond.

The display can be as simple as a vase of seasonal flowers and a few pebbles and sticks gathered from outdoors, or it can be a more elaborate display that you add to as the season progresses.  A family could change it out or add to it every season, with the holidays, or as inspiration strikes. There is not a “right” or a “wrong” way to set up a display.

Some of the nature table displays I have seen in people”s homes are just for looking at, but my favorite ones are those that invite the child to touch, explore, and experience.

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A high chair for Amelia (my thrift haul)

One of my Mother’s Day treats over the weekend was time by myself at the thrift store.  Wonderful! (And, does my husband know me well, or what?)

I picked up some more frames for my growing family gallery and I also came across a treasure: a high chair!

We’ve been using a simple plastic travel booster seat since my oldest daughter Jillian was a baby, but I’ve always wanted a real wooden high chair.  It has never been in the budget, though, and I never could bring myself to borrow one of those giant plastic ones from a friend or family member.

Don’t misunderstand:  I’m all for using what you have, and for being frugal, and I’ve done that for over a decade now when it comes to children’s things.  But, I’ve always wanted for my babies to have one of those nice, sleek wooden high chairs or a charming vintage one, like the ones at my parents and grandparents’ houses.

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Flashing back to my own childhood

Arianne over at Simple Design has started a fun link-up for sharing our thrift store purchases, Thrift Haul.  Second-hand shopping is one of my favorite hobbies (if you can call something that is also a necessity a hobby, and I think you can).

As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve been spending quite a few weekend mornings cruising the thrift stores looking for picture frames.

Recently one of my thrift store scores had me flashing back to my own childhood: a Fisher-Price Main Street set.

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Helping these walls to talk (however imperfectly)

It may be because I am finally starting to come out of my post-baby fog.  It may be that it is Spring.

I’m sure that Pinterest has something to do with it.

I suppose it could simply be that the recent sunshine pouring through my windows revealed all the dust and the drab.

Whatever the reason, I’m feeling itchy to make some changes in my surroundings.

For one thing, these bare walls are closing in on me.  I’m home with four little children, three of them under the age of five.  It gets loud around here, friends. There are times when the noise is suffocatingly loud.

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