Simplicity Monday: Too Much Stuff

This was a great post over at the Simplicity Parenting blog regarding the effects of de-cluttering a child’s room and eliminating the “too much stuff” syndrome:  http://www.simplicityparenting.com/what-happened-when-i-simplified-our-lives/

In the United States, particularly here in the Deep South, children Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Days of “X”’s

If you look at my calendar, you will see there are consistent days of the week marked with an “X”.  From week to week, those “X”’s are there.

Those “X”’s are a reminder to me that those are my days to be home, and not to schedule something on those days.  If someone asks me to do something on those days, then the answer is that I cannot because I have plans. My plans to be home are every bit as valuable as external plans, and in terms of nourishing a rich family life and connectedness, probably even more valuable.

Where are the “X”’s on your calendar as you are planning for fall?

Blessings,

Carrie

Simplicity Monday: Get Organized!

This month, I am enjoying being with Master Waldorf teacher Lisa Boisvert Mackenzie  over at Celebrating the Rhythm of Life’s “Sketch It Out” planning session for back to school.   Lisa serves on the Board of Directors of Lifeways of North America and also holds a position on the Birth Through Three Task Force for the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America.  You can see more about Lisa here:  http://www.celebratetherhythmoflife.com/p/about.html Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Too Much

Are we building our families on the four pillars of “too much”:  too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too fast? I believe that we are.  But I also believe that we don’t mean to be.  I know it for a fact, and I’ve seen it many times, that parents can bring fresh inspiration and attention to the flow of family life. – Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne with Lisa Ross, page XI, Introduction

I think the most well-meaning and loving parents can get caught up in this.  This year, as many of my readers know, was a difficult one and has been a real wake-up call to me to cut my life, our family’s life, down to the things and the people that I hold most dear, the people and things that nourish us as a family.  It is liberating, it is freeing, it is rejuvenating.

I think many parents actually have an easier time with going through material things and getting rid of and simplifying in that area.  However, when it comes to “too many choices, too much information and too fast”, it can be more difficult.    It also can mean hard choices.   One example of “too many choices”, is in activities.  Many of the parents I know whose children are involved in lots of activities are in them simply because  it sort of creeps up, for one, and for number two, we are so lucky in these times that we live in that there are many good activities!    At least, on the surface it can seem that many of these activities are “good”.

However, if we take a closer look, we see the displacement of the family life that “too many” activities cause, and also that many of the activities actually are “too fast” for the age.  I posted this link on The Parenting Passageway Facebook page, but here is a good example by a noted orthopedic surgeon in regards to children in competitive sports:  http://www.cleveland.com/dman/index.ssf/2013/02/noted_surgeon_dr_james_andrews.html

“Too much information” can also be difficult.  In an effort to not be the Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Reducing Time In The Car

Americans, in most parts of the United States, do have a love affair with their automobiles.  After all, here you can drive eight hours or more and be in the same state, whereas in most places in Europe you can cross several different countries during that time!  The United States is very large indeed!

And our urban areas often sprawl.  I live in a sprawling Southern metropolitan area that covers about twenty counties.  We have just about everything and anything one would want to do – but it often comes at a high driving price.

I love this insight by Jack Petrash in his book, “ Covering Home: Lessons On The Art of Fathering from the Game of Baseball”:

I can still remember my parents packing the car for our summer vacation.  The trunk of our ‘52 Ford was filled to the capacity with suitcases and boxes of food.  The back seat belonged to my brother and me and we were told in no uncertain terms that we had better behave.  “You are going to be in the car for a long time.  Bring something to play with and don’t fight.  This will be a long trip.”

That “long trip” was a fifty-mile drive that we made once a year to stay at a little motel on a small lake on Long Island.  Nowadays, this distance is a daily commute.  Back then, during most months, I was not in the car for even two hours.”

Spending hours in a car is difficult on small children, and on us as well.  It is an area that can almost creep up on us as we realize the amount of time we have spent in the car in the past week, the past month, the past year.  My husband and I  were driving back from his parent’s home yesterday and we looked at each other and marveled how many hours we must have spent in a car together in the past 25 years – together, without children and together with children.

I think there are some simple ways to think about reducing time in the car, and the first step is to being aware and wanting to change that pattern for your children.  Spontaneous, outside play at home is far more important than being in a car.  As Jack Petrash writes, “If our children today are wired and wound up, it is often because they have been denied an outlet for their nervous energy.”  So if your children do not seem robust, but instead whiny, difficult, demanding, nervous and anxious – double check how much time you are in the car!

To reduce car time think of: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday: Inner Work II

In our last post on Simplicity Monday I talked about a new  regard for  inner work in this season of light held so lovingly by St. John the Forerunner.  I mentioned taking just ten minutes a day in order to stand or sit in silence.

One thing to consider is the art of daily recollection.  In the book, “The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness”, author and priest Mary C. Earle writes: Continue reading

Simplicity Monday On Summer Time!

Well, today is Simplicity Monday on Summer Time.  Monday was the wonderful feast of light and cleansing and renewal in St. John, and yesterday I spent time at the horse farm and then at the lake with dear friends, fireflies, live bluegrass music and swimming…so today is Simplicity Monday!

To take up this theme of renewal and cleansing, I think one must be clear:  inner work in order to discern what needs renewing and cleansing is so important.  The seed of light cannot grow within us unless we take the time to be in stillness. And without that, it is difficult to lead a family, to model for our children what we want them to be if we ourselves cannot do it.

So, for today, create a space in your day where you can spend just ten minutes a day in silence at a rhythmical time each day.  More to come on inner work all this week and next.

Many blessings,

Carrie

Giveaway From Meadowsweet Naturals! Enter to Win!

 

Pamela over at Meadowsweet Naturals is giving the readers of The Parenting Passageway a sweet giveaway!  This giveway includes:

  • One set of 3 primary block crayons
  • One 12 ct set of Lyra Laquered Color Giants (or 12 ct of the lyra short ferby pencils-can be your choice depending on age of  your children)
  • One block of Stockmar Modelling beeswax
  • Two main lesson books (size to be determined with Pamela after you win!)

 

TO WIN!  Like Meadowsweet Naturals’ Facebook page here: 

https://www.facebook.com/MeadowsweetNaturals

 

and leave a comment in the comment box saying you did this (if you don’t have a Facebook account, leave a comment to be entered to win anyway), along with your favorite tip for fall planning and be part of our random drawing to win!  There is also a  20 percent off sale  valid through the end of June on all orders over $50.00. No coupon code needed.

 

For those of you who don’t know about Meadowsweet Naturals, Meadowsweet Naturals is a family operated on -line shop serving the needs of families worldwide. They offer  an ever- increasing selection of Waldorf inspired products, including art and handwork supplies, homeschooling products,books,  and music items.  Their hallmark is to offer  personal, caring service and love transforming our customers into friends.

Pamela is the owner of Meadowsweet Naturals. Pamela writes:

I’m Pamela, a passionate, lifelong student of holistic healing and mother of eight, naturally raised, home educated children. My passion for natural healing began in my teen years and continues to the present, as I study nutrition, herbology, homeopathy, aromatherapy, relationship dynamics, and how all of these relate to our overall health.
In a thriving marriage of 29 years, I love supporting people in creating healthy, radiant relationships through nutrition and joyful living. I’ve had my share of health challenges to work through and know how challenging it can be to run a family, household, and business, and to keep it all thriving while not losing oneself in the process. Fortunately, I have also learned ways to make it all come together and I love sharing those ideas. I have a special interest in raw food and vegan lifestyles, food addictions, blood sugar balancing, and creating vibrant family relationships
In addition to working with Dr Ritamarie Lascalzo, I am also a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, a Dr Sears Certified Nutrition Coach. I hold various certifications from American College of Healthcare Sciences, and am also a certified raw food chef and a Karen Knowler certified Raw Teacher Trainer. Additionally, I am also certified by Renee Trudaeu, as a Personal Renewal Group Facilitator.
I live with my family on our organic farm in New York State, where we operate an online business for families called Meadowsweet Naturals.
When not doing the work that I love, my favorite place is being at the ocean with my family.
I can be reached at www.MeadowsweetNaturals.com and www.YourRadiantPath.com

Can’t wait to see who wins!

Love,
Carrie

Simplicity Monday: The Nitty Gritty

 

I think in  life sometimes we just need to get down to the nitty gritty of parenting and childhood development.  It makes life so much simpler to know the things that are most important to your family, because then you can see what makes sense to do within your days, weeks and months.  Does your use of time match up with what you really think is important?

 

For example, if simplicity is important to you, but you are running your children somewhere every day, does that reflect your priorities?

 

If you think religion is important, or spiritual inner development is important to you, but you don’t spend any time in activities that reflect that, then does that reflect your priorities?

 

Too often we start out the school year very strong, and things sort of peter out by the end of the school year.  What a perfect time of year this is to look and evaluate where your family is, and where you would like to be.

 

We enjoy having a Family Mission Statement.  This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can be helpful in looking at priorities, and making sure everyone is on the same page.  Here is a link to a back post on this:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/08/creating-a-family-mission-statement/  Our Family Mission Statement involves kindness, integrity, positive attitude, patience, and adventure.  Yours will be different, but I think it is worthy project to undertake.

 

I would love to hear what you are revitalizing in your family life this time of year!

Much love,
Carrie