Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Pomegranate love
What if it wasn't so hard... so tricky... so fancy... so busy... so much? What if December was actually about discovering simple, easy, slow, free? Mmmmmm. Yes.  I talk about this each year as a reminder to myself, as well as to you. My mantra for this season is always "simplify". Maybe you're thinking... oh that's easy for you... your life looks so tidy. Well, the reality is my Decembers are just as busy as anyone's... two birthdays, three holidays, recitals, gatherings... you name it, it's on our calendar*. But each year, I try to find at least one new way to scale back. Our count down calendar has been a phenomenal success and perfect example of how EASE is another name for JOY. Thankfully, my children were very flexible about shifting the focus to celebrating new or favorite family traditions each day. How I've worded every activity and set our intention for togetherness has made all the difference. The four of us gather round and truly have fun together. So far, cracking open a gorgeous red pomegranate has been the highlight. Who knew? Red sticky fingers and tons of giggles. I mean it doesn't get much easier! So, with that in mind... I urge you to think about what your family truly needs to make this a memorable season.

p.s. We've also loved our other count down activities which have included:
1-Making our very own snow to welcome in December"  with snowflakes found here.
2-Toasting to good cheer- with sparkling cider in wineglasses for everyone.
3-Stuffing dried apricots with chocolate-an easy favorite.
4-Sipping hot cocoa by the fire with candy cane stirrers (we buy these at our health food store).
Easy stuff! Right?  I bet you have some too- simple family traditions that make happiness not stress. Please consider sharing one in the comments... I'm sure we'd all love to hear!

I'll be bringing back my simple gift series this week...so  stay tuned!

* editor's note: after a funny phone call with a good friend, I'm adding in another slice of my reality!
  • A ceiling tile in our main bathroom fell to the floor. Yikes! It's still being held in place with duct tape and a piece of cardboard, two weeks later.
  • I was recruited to sew huge fabric "floats" for my daughter's class play. They need to be done TOMORROW.
  • My studio floor is so cluttered that there have been two (minor) injuries from tripping in the last 24 hours.
  • Our stove burners all rusted out simultaneously. Waiting for parts has meant cooking with only one burner sparingly... for a week so far.
So"simplify" it is. Thanks N, for reminding me to keep it real and share the whole story.. Pin It


  1. Ha ha! Love the one about tripping over stuff on the studio floor. I spent my first weekend of self-employment cleaning my studio so I could start with "real" work on Monday. My husband had stopped asking if everything was ok when he heard loud crashes from my studio. The answer was always the same. "Just me tripping over all this stuff piled on the floor!"

  2. Dried apricots stuffed with chocolate--gotta try that.

    This weekend my two sons (7 and 3) and I made snowman ornaments out of some old white yarn. I wrapped their fingers round and round with the yarn (first 2, then 3, then 4 fingers), tied the loops in the center, and then cut through the loops. We had planned to add eyes/noses/mouths etc., but the boys are getting too much of a kick out of playing with the "hand" made pom poms. Maybe we'll finish the snowmen this weekend. Maybe not. But EASE and JOY? Yes. We achieved that!

  3. Simplify sounds really good, not only in my surrounds but also in activities.

  4. Jenny-I want to make those snowmen! And yes, those apricots are very tasty and fun to make.

  5. We made one of those simple paper link chains to count down to Christmas this year. And we are planting seeds of kindness- one grain of wheat in a pan of dirt on our window sill for every kind deed. It is easy, and free and a wonderful way to reflect on the importance of kindness and generosity during this season.
    Love that you are dedicating a series of posts to this topic!

  6. mandi- absolutely beautiful! thank you for sharing.

  7. My studio is always a mess - someone should start a blog tour of messy studios & workspaces in the spirit of keeping it real. My Girl Scout Brownies will be making your snowflakes at our party this weekend. They were such a hit last year.

  8. I also like reconstituting dried apricots in water overnight, and then filling them with a walnut half and some homemade whipped cream. Maybe a little bit fussier- and therefore not in line with the theme of this post!- but delicious nonetheless.

  9. Jennifer- some nights a little fuss may sneak in order and that sounds intriguing.

  10. Nicola- if you start messystudios.com I will promise to get over myself and post a picture of the real stuff!

  11. i'm with you - simplifying makes life more peaceful. i'm working on it. welcome to the messy studio club! ps - when will your book be out?

  12. Grin at the reality slice.. Sounds very familiar! We're keeping things as quiet as we can too: our half an hour of reading on the sofa before bedtime is sacred, however busy the days get. Each their own book, sometimes shared ones, under blankets - lovely..

  13. We're taking the simple route this year too! More about enjoying the moments and appreciating Mother Nature and less about the hype!
    Did you celebrate St. Nicholas Day?
    ~ joey ~
    ps. Love your profile picture! I'm not exactly sure what you changed on the top of your blog but it looks clean and simple too! (you know how you just get used to how something is and then you wonder what happened when something seems different?)

  14. simplify! yes....a friend and I have been trying to do the "dwindle down by one thing" each season-- of course, this year my thing was going to be cards-- until she reminded me I already let that one go last year. ;)

    Glad to know even when intentionally simplifying others have messy floors an undone house projects too. sometimes i think it is just me!

  15. I wish we could slow down in december too! I've been out every day and night this week. Its the end of school year in australia in the second week of december - break up parties for everything!

    to simplify I did all my shopping by end of November so I can just sit and be with the kids (when we have no appointments!)

    we read a christmas book each night, burn candles and try and hold advent once a week(share a devotional/story and sing a carol) sleep under the christmas tree atleast once, paint our nails sparkly, sew christmas pillowcases for sweet christmas dreams (about the only thing I can sew is square/rectangle things ;) each girl chooses their own fabric and they sit on my lap while I sew it up for them)

    I love your inspiration! the pomegranate looks wonderful as does the apricot idea - never heard of it.

  16. *Simplify* is as much attitude as it is doing, don't you think? Congrats on the new book (a little bird told me).

  17. I too appreciated the comment about tripping on the floor. My crafty clutter is the reason for many ruffled feathers (at first I typed "fathers" which is actually more accurate).