Honest Simplicity

my winding road to a simpler life

Category: Kids

Empowering My Little Pack Rat

I have a little pack rat.  He is my five-year-old son and your trash could quickly become his treasure.  A discarded bottle cap becomes a miniature pie pan in his hands.  An empty plastic jar is soon the perfect coin container.  Paper and cardboard remnants transform into handmade books when this young author gets a hold of them.  I greatly appreciate his creativity and ability to entertain himself, but the hoard he creates needs to be dealt with from time to time (especially since his bedroom is roughly 8’x9′ with no closet!).  My daughter, who was recently sharing his room, chose to move downstairs because of his untidiness.  I lovingly teased him recently, calling him Templeton (as in the rat from Charlotte’s Web).


Today was the day we tackled the mess.  Though my son has a tendency to collect junk, he needs no convincing that a clean room is an enjoyable room.  He does need motivation and encouragement to do the job.  Once he started sorting his Read the rest of this entry »

A Joyful Simple Christmas, Please


I love the cozy Christmas season, warming our spirits in the midst of winter.  Christmas is supposed to be a holiday of love, Read the rest of this entry »

Rounded Fairy House

I enjoy making fairy/gnome houses for my kids to play with.  Because of this, we seem to have a small fairy village starting to grow in our house.  I love offering my children handmade toys which spark their imaginations.  Here is my latest creation, which my daughter really likes and is antsy to play with.   I made the roof removable so that she could easily move her dolls and furniture in and out.

Inner Child

fairy table and chair

fairy table and chair

My kids keep my inner child alive and well.  They both have beautiful imaginations which nourish my own.  On this warm Read the rest of this entry »

Young Minimalist in the Making


I think I have a young minimalist on my hands (at least, one in the making).  I’m speaking of my creative, energetic, chatterbox 8-year old daughter.  One morning this week, I stumbled into the kitchen, half-awake, to make myself some coffee.  Before I could reach the teapot, this sprightly daughter of mine bounced into the room announcing she had a pile of stuffed animals she’d like to part with.  “Uh….ok…that is great!” I mumbled, caught off guard by her radiating energy so early in the morning.  I Read the rest of this entry »

Yogurt Sundae

Ice cream often sounds delicious on a summer afternoon, right?  I’m not opposed to the occasional dish of ice cream (I love it), but occasional is the key word.  For a healthier afternoon sweet treat, I made yogurt sundaes for my kids.  Okay, technically they are probably parfaits, but sundaes sound more fun.  Shhhhh…don’t tell.  The kids were excited and gobbled them up.  My yogurt sundae ingredients: Brown Cow cream top vanilla yogurt, Love Grown Foods cocoa goodness oat clusters, fresh organic raspberries, unsweetened coconut flakes, and a drizzle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup (aren’t you proud of me for admitting I have that last ingredient in my fridge?).


Vitamix Veggie Boost

About a year ago, I invested in a Vitamix blender and I’m so very glad I did.  I love, it love it, love it.  Actually, I’m sipping a green smoothie as I type this.  That purchase has helped my family create a healthy habit of eating more veggies daily.  The benefit is clear.  I know I feel healthier both mentally and physically when I pack more nutrient-dense whole foods into my day.  I love that I can gulp down 2 cups of spinach even if I’m in a hurry.  When I make fruit smoothies or popsicles for my kids, I toss in greens as well.  Cleaning the Vitamix is a breeze, too.  All I need to do is run the blender with some soapy water and voila!  It was an expensive purchase, but I’d rather invest the money now in my health than spend it at the doctor’s office down the road.  Another positive is that Vitamix blenders are hand-built in the USA.  If you are looking for a very simple way to add nutritious whole foods to your diet, consider buying a Vitamix.  Perhaps this is sounding like a commercial, but that is how much I love this machine and what it has done for my family.

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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.

Studio Time

Today, my kids and I spent most of our time in and around the studio (which is directly behind our house).  I was planning on having time to work on some new paintings (alone), though the kids had a different idea.  They eagerly wanted to paint, too.  Honestly, I wanted to say “sorry, I’m busy right now”, but I ended up spending the morning giving them painting lessons before beginning my own work.  This was my son’s first time at the easel and he was rearing to go.  It was a joy to see his focus and to watch my daughter’s creativity unfold.  Sometimes our kids can get in the way of our plans, but we should remember that teaching them new skills and spending time with them is far more worthwhile.  We are creating memories when we stop to paint with them, let them help cook dinner, take the time to read them a book, and so forth.  I’m not saying it is always easy, but you’ll never regret the time you invest in your children.  Reminder to self: say “yes” more than “no” when my kids need my focused attention.


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