Honest Simplicity

my winding road to a simpler life

Category: Book Shelf

Thank You, Everyday Paleo!

Apple Flowers make for a healthy, fun snack that my kids love

an Apple Flower is a healthy fun snack that my kids love

Roughly two years ago, I read “Primal Body Primal Mind” by Nora Gedgaudas.  It changed my life.  With enthusiasm, I ditched the starches and sugars embedded in my diet and opted for grass-fed butter and meat, pastured eggs, raw nuts, and lots of organic leafy greens.  My body was loving it all, but I got bored eating the same dishes over and over.  I struggled for more diversity in my meal plan. That is when Sarah Fragoso came to the rescue (though she is certainly unaware of her great Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Tiny


I am reading The Big Tiny for the second time after lending it out to friends. In her memoir, Dee Williams invites the reader along for a raw look into her winding journey to simplicity. At times, her humor makes me laugh out loud, with tears running down my cheeks. In other moments, I can feel her tangible sadness and doubt. Though her joys far outweigh any disappointments, Dee doesn’t sugar coat the struggles she faced in downsizing her life into an 84-square foot home on wheels. On the process of letting go of her belongings, she writes, “I didn’t plan for this sort of hardship; I thought getting rid of stuff would be a simple matter of elbow grease and logic. Feelings of loss or remorse weren’t supposed to be a factor….I thought I would be beyond all of that.” Her story is uplifting and beautiful in its honesty. The lessons she’s learned challenge us to review our own meaning of happiness, our relationship to stuff, and to question how much is really enough. She writes,”…I stumbled into a new sort of ‘happiness’, one that didn’t hinge on always getting what I want, but rather, on wanting what I have. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t tied so tightly to being comfortable (or having money and property), but instead is linked to a deeper sense of Read the rest of this entry »

The Art of Walking

my daughter walking with her aunt

my daughter walking with her aunt

I love taking long leisurely walks.  I suppose I’ve always enjoyed walking and seeing the world at a slower pace.  It is a time to collect my thoughts, exercise my body, stay grounded, and maintain my overall well-being.  Like many people, though, I am also guilty of being too busy to “stop and smell the roses” at times.  I hope I never forget how wonderful a stroll can be.  When Read the rest of this entry »

Love of Language

If you’ve been to a bookstore or the library lately, you are well aware of the multitudes of dumbed-down books for kids (known as twaddle).  There are treasures filling those shelves as well, to be sure, but they are harder to find.  Truthfully, my kids will gravitate toward cartoon characters on book covers, even if they aren’t very familiar with those characters.  Often, the content of such books is of little value.  I do let them check out some lower quality books (if the messages are not inappropriate) to encourage their desire to read.  I also point out and choose other books for them containing quality writing or beautiful illustrations, explaining what sets those books apart.  Often, these are the books they’ll ask me to read over and over.  Slowly, they’ll learn to spot a good book when they see one without me dictating what they should and shouldn’t read.  For my daughter’s birthday, I bought her the Usborne unabridged copy of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.  The illustrations, by Richard Johnson, are dreamy and beautiful.  Though the language is old-fashioned, my kids look forward to hearing it read aloud.  It is rich with vocabulary (I plan on keeping the children’s dictionary close by when we read again tonight) and what a treat that is for young ears!  Don’t shy away from such books because you fear the language is beyond your children’s understanding.  You may be surprised at what they glean.

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

Manners: Saying “Thank You”

The kids received birthday gifts in the mail today from their grandparents.  I let them open the package, though their birthdays are still a few days away.  They were excited to see what was inside.  My daughter didn’t waste time in trying on her new outfit and my son quickly flew his new Spider-Man glider around the house.  I decided it was the perfect opportunity for a lesson in manners.  I pulled out A Little Book of Manners: Courtesy & Kindness for Young Ladies by Emilie Barnes (I also own the version for boys).  The book has a lovely section teaching children all about saying and writing “thank you”.  The author explains when to write a thank-you note, why it is of value, what to include in your note, and so on.  After reading the lesson, we drove to the store so that they could each pick out their very own box of thank you notes.  I told them that these were very special cards for the sole purpose of showing someone your appreciation.  Once home, they eagerly wrote their notes, added drawings, and happily put the stamps on their envelopes.  To be honest, I am not the best example when it comes to promptly sending off thank you notes.  I verbally say “thank you” quite a bit, but that doesn’t always cut it.  I’d love to make a habit of writing notes of appreciation and I suppose it will begin by doing it alongside my kids.

Summer of Reading


My kids recently signed up for Summer of Reading at the Denver Public Library.  When they read 12 books, they will each receive a ticket to Elitch Gardens.  They are now quite motivated to read books on their summer break.  Our son just finished Dick and Jane: Something Funny, which we helped him with since he’s a beginning reader (nearly 5 years old).  Our daughter finished reading both The Fire Cat and Peter Pan: Lost and Found.  They are already looking forward to picking out their next books.  I absolutely love reading and want to encourage that love of literature in my children.  This summer, don’t forget that your local library is full of enticing books to entertain your kids.

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