Friday, November 29, 2013

{how to} make a simple advent tradition



OK. Here is the deal. I really dislike highly curated crafts and experiences for kids. Especially during the holidays. You can search Pinterest for advent calendars and will see some really amazing things. But in our house, the mama's creative interests lay elsewhere. And the kids want to be a part of the planning and tradition making. So, our holiday projects are messier, less color-coordinated and I contend, easier and more fun.

Our advent is in the top 5 favorite holiday activities. I think I love it as much as the kids. It acts as a touchstone and organizing activity. I wanted to share the way it has evolved in our family and offer an example of the great memory making that can happen when we drop the perfection and engage our kids in the process

+ Get 25 envelopes. You can use white ones, colored ones, homemade, whatever. It does not matter! I like these little coin envelopes that I use when sending badges and goodies to my lab participants. They come in packages of a gazillion, so I always have a bunch. 

+ Let the kids decorate them. Get our rubber stamps, paint, glitter, magazines, anything that might be fun. And let go. Really let them go for it. You will have the most amazingly beautiful and meaningful envelopes no matter what they do. You can jump in and make a few too of course. 

+ Hang them on a string as a garland or put in a box or bowl. Again, whatever works for you. You might even deliver one each day in your indoor family mailbox. 

+ Fill them with activities. I put in the actives I KNOW are happening in advance and fill the rest as the month goes along. So many times, something really fun comes up and alters our plan so I keep it loose. I make a list that I keep with my calendar and usually organize a few days at a time. Most are so simple, there is not much to do.

The key to this project is that you listen to what your kids think are the most important holiday activities and make sure they are covered. Sprinkle that with a few new ideas and lots of very simple activities and you have month of fun.  Hopefully, this makes the anticipation for Christmas more bearable by spreading the magic out over an entire month.


Here are many ideas to get your creative juices flowing. PLEASE leave your ideas on this project in the comments.

anything that is already on your calendar that is remotely fun
movie nights
pancakes + cocoa for breakfast
make cookies/caramels/peppermint bark
make homemade dog treats
make wrapping paper
caroling
make bird feeders
read a favorite book
take a solstice walk
holiday spa baths
take wish list items to the SPCA
lunch with a friend or grandparent
plays and performances
parade
any local events
paint your nails red + green
string popcorn and cranberries
kind bomb the library or the store
make peppermint bath salts
make salt dough ornaments
make gingerbread/peppermint/cocoa play dough
conduct an oral history of the elders (find out what the holidays were like for them)
hang twinkle lights in the bathroom + bedrooms
have a candle lit dinner
decorate tshirts to sleep in
make coffee filter snowflakes
open a new game to play
download Lego instructions for holiday themed projects
write letters back and forth to the North Pole
drive around and look at lights
make origami to hang on the tree
donate a car full of old toys and clothes
play with shaving cream and little animals in a tray
sing some songs/learn a song on the piano/recorder
do a treasure hunt for a little gift
service work
go on a photo hunt for red + green things
ice skating
play date
family lego/mine craft/rainbow loom party
Skype far away friends or family
make the biggest snowflake ever
make holiday cards/thank you cards
decorate the mouse cages

Thursday, November 28, 2013

thank you + happy thanksgiving


Dear awesome readers,

I hope your day is filled with good food, pretty weather and lots of laughs. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your readership, comments and good cheer. I do not take lightly that I show up in your mailbox or feed and fret a lot about that responsibility. I am looking forward to the upcoming year and offering quality content and unique ideas that support you and your quest for a creative family life.

Peace!
Amy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

{review} Grayson


Wow. This book touched my heart and filled my head with beautiful imagery that I take to bed with me each night. We read together at bedtime were instantly smitten.

The calm, attentive and at times, riveting account of distance swimmer Lynne Cox's encounter with a lost baby gray whale when she was a teenager training in the Pacific Ocean serves as a mediation of love, deep connection to nature, and the magic that surrounds us. Her vivid description of swimming through bioluminescent creatures in the dark early hours of morning made our heads spin with wonder.

Highly recommended, this memoir would be a perfect gift for anyone who loves the ocean, swimming, the natural world, or just a good yarn.

Have you read Grayson? What were your thoughts?

Any other good memoirs to recommend?

Friday, November 22, 2013

{giveaway} Celebrations of Light :: A Wintertime Family eGuide





Today, I am so excited to offer a giveaway to YOU. 

I am offering a copy of Celebrations of Light:: A Wintertime Family eGuide edited by Liz from A Natural Nester

This guide is nearly 40 pages full of rituals, crafts, recipes and inspiration. I love, love, love that it focuses on the smaller holidays of the season like advent, solstice, St. Nicholas Day, St. Lucia Day, and New Years. There is plenty here to help you expand your season and begin to explore and add new traditions to your family's holiday. 

Check out a few sample pages of this beautiful guide and then enter by leaving a comment about YOUR favorite holiday tradition. That is it! 

I will pick a winner on Wednesday. Good luck!

You can also order a copy by clicking on the icon on the side bar. 
Amy 








gladsome



My word of the year this year was fly. And, boy, was I able to slide towards the end of the year with a literal and figurative flying experience.

Last weekend, I traveled alone to Ohio to retreat with women whom I have never met. From my airport pick up to my post conference home stay, I was surrounded by new (+ online) friends in close quarters. Sharing meals and clean ups, telling stories, drumming and hiking together, laughing and crying in turn. And drinking lots of tea.

I wrote and slept and ate the best soups and chilies. I was transfixed by the falling leaves. Up north, they take their time finding the ground, spinning and fluttering in ways I am completely unaccustomed to. I saw deer and chipmunks, snow and mud, waterfalls and giant milkweeds.

And I came home refreshed and stronger.

I am stronger because I did not say no when this opportunity presented it.

I am stronger because even as my stomach lurched early on, I stayed the course.

I am stronger because I offered myself fully to a diverse and fascinating group of women and they enveloped me.

This experience will remain tucked into a tiny drawer in my mind and heart forever. Bonding so strongly in such a short period of time does that. You get to take all you learned, all that was etched in your memory on subsequent travels.

Thank you Gladsome. I can not wait until next year.

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